If you ask saltwater anglers to pick one fish to catch for the rest of their lives, many would choose Redfish. They’re strong fighters, found in all types of water and elusive. The challenge these fish provide make them extremely appealing for anglers of all skill levels.
There are a variety of ways to catch Redfish. You can use a fly rod, a baitcasting rod with a popper and you can even use jigs. Jig fishing for Redfish is challenging, but has proven to be successful. Here are a few tips to help you land a Redfish on a jig during your next excursion.
Use Jigs if the fish are lazy
The most difficult type of fishing is when you’re targeting sluggish fish. The fish that are not moving or feeding is sometimes impossible to land. They’re not looking to do anything except sit and watch the world go by.
Jigs are great to use when you see Redfish not actively feeding. Use a 1/16 ounce jig head and tie on 2 or 3 inches of a plastic grub. Once you’re rigged, cast it near the Redfish and let it hit the bottom.
These fish can spook so if you cast it directly on top of them, they’ll flee and you won’t catch them. Cast the jig near the Redfish, let it drift to the bottom and then begin your jigging. Short jerks of the rod will leave a sand trail behind your bait.
You don’t want to reel in too quickly when you’re jigging. You want your jig to imitate a crab or shrimp that is trying to flee. The small puffs of sand behind your jig will do just the trick. Some soft plastics you can use are Gulp!, DOA, and LiveShrimp. Each of these companies makes solid shrimp, Shad and grub impressions.
It’s also not a bad idea to equip your soft plastic with some scent. The scent will entice those lazy Redfish even more.
A popping cork attached to a jig with a scented shrimp is another great technique to use when jig fishing for Redfish. This rig allows you to tackle all levels of the water column. If you’re using jigs, it’s likely because the Redfish aren’t too active.
The popping cork covers the surface of the water. It will bob in the water, but it’s smart to give it a few jerks every 30 seconds or so to create some extra commotion. Be sure to purchase popping corks with beads. These will make noise every time you jig the popping cork and add to appeal.
You may find fish attacking your popping cork before they find your bait. This is a good sign! It shows that the Refish are willing to eat and it’s only a matter of time before they find your bait. As you’re popping, the jig head and scented shrimp are going to be active lower in the water column.
Redfish often feed by scent so it’s important that your soft plastics are equipped with enough scent to show the Redfish where your bait is.
With popping corks, you’re able to set the exact place you want your bait to sit in the water column. With jigs, you likely want it as close to the bottom as possible. This will create some action on the ocean floor and allow those bottom feeding Redfish to strike.
When to fish for Redfish with a jig
Use a jig when you’re fishing around structure in 12-15 feet of water. Cast wherever you believe the Redfish are located and start working your bait back towards you. Bounce the bait along the bottom. The Redfish will eventually become too curious and likely strike your bait.
You can also keep the jig towards the middle of the water column. You don’t have to let it hit the bottom to catch Redfish. Many people think that Redfish only feed on the bottom due to their downward facing mouths, but this isn’t the case.
Redfish will feed wherever they find food so don’t be shy when switching up where you want your jig to sit.
Tips and Tricks
When fishing with jigs, you want to be sure you are using stronger leader. Fishing for Redfish in open water doesn’t require as heavy of tackle, but when you’re using jigs, you’re likely fishing around structure.
Redfish don’t have teeth and don’t pose a threat of breaking your line, but they are smart fighters and have the potential of wrapping you up around a pylon and snapping the line.
You’ll want to use 20-40 pound monofilament leader attached to 10 to 15 pound braid. This leader is going to be thin enough that the Redfish won’t spook and strong enough for you to fight the Redfish off of any structure it might find.
You’ll also want to use a medium action rod. This is a sensitive enough rig for you to detect small bites and powerful enough that the larger Redfish won’t be too difficult to land.
When you’re rigging your soft plastics to the jig, hook the soft plastic through the head and push onto the hook so that it is parallel with the hook point. This will keep the hook properly exposed and still keep a proper balance on the jig head.
It’s never a bad idea to chum for Redfish. When you do chum, this makes the fish more aggressive and more likely to hit your jig. Many anglers fail to use this method and lose out on quite a few fish as a result.
When you’re done chumming, toss your jig in the water and see what happens. It won’t take long for the fish to strike!
You don’t have to always be subtle when using jigs. Many think it’s mainly a finesse style of fishing, but this isn’t the case. Saltwater fishing has always been the most successful when there has been quite a bit of action in the water. When using your jigs, don’t be afraid to create commotion.
Even though there are a variety of other ways to target Redfish, the jig is going to be the most versatile and wake up the fish on the sluggish days. From November until February, the jigs are going to be your best bet.
Winter fishing in saltwater isn’t always easy. The fish are temperamental and very picky when it comes to their choices of food. By using a jig, you can cover quite a bit of the water column, use different bait imitations and use a variety of techniques.
Jigs are going to reach the lower levels of the water and work exceptionally well in the stronger current. Quite a bit of food flows through the strong current, but it’s often difficult to fish due to the high possibility of fishing with a spinning bait. Saltwater fish won’t hit a spinning bait and using a jig prevents this from happening.
Be patient when using jigs. It’s not a bait that is going to require a massive amount of action, but the fish will always eat. It’s a great way to test your angling abilities and help you gain a better feel for fishing near the bottom of the water column.