Saltwater anglers are a peculiar group. Every angler has their preference when it comes to type of fishing, fishing locations and gear. The strong opinions come from hours spent on the water searching for trophy fish. They know what works and what doesn’t and are willing to go to their graves with their beliefs.
There are a few fish, however, that every saltwater angler loves to catch. Redfish, drum and snook are fish that check all of the boxes of great fish to catch. They’re large, fight incredibly hard and are a challenge to land.
Here are a few tips on how to catch each of these fish.
Redfish are perhaps the most popular saltwater game fish in the United States. They’re a part of the Drum family and located all over the south and east coast of America.
Where to find Redfish
Anglers often ask where to find these fish and the answer truly is anywhere.
You can find them in ditches in Florida as well as around mangroves, bridges and beaches. It’s impressive the amount of places you can find these fish. They’re in the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Chesapeake Bay.
Texas, Louisiana and the flats of Florida are known to be the most productive locations.
How to catch them
Live bait always seems to do the trick with Redfish. Mullet, croakers and minnows are going to be successful and entice some of the large bulls to strike.
At The Jetty
If you’re along a jetty or a place with an extreme amount of tidal movement, you want to find the drop offs. The bait is going to be the most plentiful here and the fish like shallow water so they can find safety.
If you cast along the rocks at the jetties, you’ll find redfish.
Beach Fishing For Redfish
Redfish aren’t too complicated.They want to always be around bait and know they can find structure to hide. If there are bait balls hanging around the beach, Redfish will be close. An easy wait to identify a bait ball is to locate where birds are diving!
Sight fishing for Redfish in the flats is amazing. They’re hiding from the dolphins, but still looking to feed. If you’re fishing the flats, clean water is key. You need to be able to see them and they need a clear look at your bait.
They’ll follow bait and look to feed on the surface. Lighter tackle and twitch baits are great to use in the flats.
Muddy bottoms and shallower water make marshes great places to target redfish. These fish are moving in from deeper water and looking to feed.
A few things to remember is that if Redfish are sitting still, use more topwater lures to create some commotion. If the Redfish are moving, you want to cast out in front of them with a variety of bait. They’re much easier to catch when they’re on the move.
Always use braid line when fishing for Reds. Tie on 10-20 pound braid with a 20-30 pound leader to land these fish. They’re great fighters and the braid allows you to feel everything that is happening to your bait.
Like mentioned above, live bait is always going to work when targeting Redfish. However, artificial baits are also going to have plenty of success. Lures like the Halco Hamma, Heddon Super Spook Jr. and LiveTarget Rigged Shrimp are always going to work.
Check out this article for more information on the best lures to use for Redfish.
While the Redfish is a part of the drum family, the Black Drum is always going to be king. These fish can grow up to 100 pounds in certain cases. It’s not uncommon to catch them from 30-50 pounds.
Where to find Drum
Drum most often hang out on shorelines, in flats and shell bars. The largest Drum are going to be caught on the inside channels and surf. Like Redfish, they want to feel safe. Therefore, they’ll most always be found near structure of some sort.
Also, drop offs are great places to find Drum. These areas have the most food flowing through them and Drum like to congregate in these areas.
How to catch Drum
Drum aren’t the most complicated fish in the world. There are a few set techniques that always seem to be productive when you’re targeting Drum.
When surf fishing for Drum, the first technique to try is letting your bait rest. If you know Drum like to congregate past the breakers, cast your bait near them and let it sit. The Drum will eventually pick it up and you’ll have a fight on your hands.
If you feel small tugs on your bait, it’s likely small baitfish and you may need to make some changes.
Bridges and Piers
You want to find the deeper water near these forms of structure. They’ll sit right next to bridges and piers to avoid some of the current. If you can, cast out and drift your bait past the structure so the Drum have time to take a quick swipe.
Drum are most often found in the flats in the spring and the fall. You can sightfish for these and have plenty of success. You want to do your best to target the moving Drum. This means they’re more actively feeding and likely to hit your bait.
Stay far away and make long casts!
Drum are big so you need to be equipped to handle them. A fast action rod is great if you’re going to use artificial lures. You’ll need the sensitive tip because these fish aren’t always going to hit your bait hard.
You’ll want to use baitcasting rods when targeting these fish. Equip your reels with 30-40 pound braid and 50 pound leader. They’ll fight extremely hard and are smart. They’ll wrap you up on any sort of structure they can find.
Drums aren’t well-known for chasing artificial lures. If you do use articials, however, use Live Target Shrimp, Mullet style lures and topwater twitch baits. Otherwise, your live Mullet, shrimp and crabs are going to be great choices.
Some may argue Snook are the best fish to catch on this list. It’s not uncommon to catch a five pound Snook on any given day. As soon as you catch one, these fish will have you hooked.
Where to find Snook
Similar to the other fish on this list, Snook like structure. You can find them on the flats, in mangroves, oyster beds and bridges. Anywhere where there is warm water, Snook will live. Fishing is the most productive from March or April until September.
How to catch Snook
Snook want to ambush their prey. Any place you can find that looks like a solid ambush point, a few Snook are usually waiting.
Bridges and Piers
You’ll find Snook tucked right up against bridges and piers. They want to be protected, but still have an angle on the open water. This allows them to feed a bit easier. Fish your lures and bait quickly around these structures. They’re more than willing to chase if they deem it natural.
Cast as far into the mangroves as you would dare. These fish will sit as deep in the mangroves as they possibly can. Skip your lure into the mangroves and retrieve it quickly. They’ll smash your lure and do their best to run immediately back to safety.
Snook are skittish. You’ll have to sight fish for these fish in the flats, so be sure you’re capable of making long casts. They’ll dart away at any sign of danger.
Be sure you use 15-20 pound braid with a 30-40 pound leader. They’ll run you around almost anything they can find so you’ll need the strength to fight them. Also, be sure you use circle hooks! They’re the least harmful to the fish.
A medium or heavy action rod is going to work well for Snook. While they don’t grow massive, they’re a strong fish and you’ll want the ability to make long and accurate casts.
You can catch snook on artificial and live bait. Mullet, Pilchards, Shrimp and Ballyhoo are all going to work for live bait. Hook the live bait through the nose if you’re fishing in heavy current.
Live Target Mullet, the Flare Hawk Jig and the Johnson Silver Minnow spoon are great artificials to use for Snook.