• 66°

Hudson column: Redfish great spring angling

There is a reason so many people from Salisbury go to the coast to fish for redfish.
They are one of the most fun fish you will ever catch. The reason is the fight. It can take several minutes to land a 5-pound redfish on light tackle because they fight like bulldogs.
Jeff Billings, a Cooleemee dentist, introduced me to red fishing in 2005 and my life hasn’t been the same since.
Two of the best fishing guides in the Carolinas, Capt. George Beckwith in New Bern and Capt. J.R. Waits in Isle of Palms, S.C., were more than happy to teach me everything I needed to know about how to catch these fish.
Many Salisbury residents have fished with both these guys and I doubt there is anything either of them don’t know about saltwater fishing in general and redfish in particular.
Redfish spend the first few years of life inshore in the saltwater marsh areas that feature lots of oyster beds and grass and a tidal fluctuation that gives the fish at least a foot or so of water at the minimum and close access to depths of 10 feet or more during extreme cold snaps or low tides.
Bigger reds, those 15 to 100 pounds, live in the ocean and frequent beaches, passes and sounds when they are not in deeper offshore water.
The Outer Banks beaches and Pamlico Sound are legendary for big redfish. Whereas the little reds, called puppy drum by North Carolinians down east and rat reds by those in the low country of South Carolina, can be found virtually everywhere in the marshes that line the intracoastal waterway along the coast of both states.
Fishing for these smaller reds is most fun in the winter months because low water temperatures cause the algae in the water to die off, making the water super clear. As a result, reds will school up in groups of 100 or more and stay in areas that offer food, sufficient water depth and protection from predators. But the clear water makes these fish very nervous because they are exposed.
You have to remember that redfish have severe threats in the form of dolphins in deeper water and osprey, eagles and even pelicans from above.
Schooling gives redfish protection through strength in numbers. These schools can be found hiding behind oyster beds and in patches of marsh grass or even in open, shallow water over muddy bottom.
It is when the fish are schooled up like this that the fishing becomes more like hunting. You have to be quiet and sneak up on them and make casts that land just beyond the school but still within their site.
In winter, reds often will remain motionless until startled. You might think you are looking at empty water when searching for these fish, but spook the school and all of a sudden a section of water the size of a tennis court will come alive with fish that you never knew where there.
Reds feed primarily by scent. So it is no surprise most reds are taken with jig-heads tipped with a scented soft-plastic bait.
Reds love finger mullet, shrimp, crabs and mud minnows as well. These baits can be fished lots of different ways with success.
But whatever you do, hang on. You might be in for the light-tackle fight of your life.
Glenn Hudson is a freelance fishing writer based in Salisbury. Contact him at littletuna67@aol.com.
 

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18