A Quick Guide To Redfish In Southern Louisiana
Redfish, specifically the red drum, is a saltwater game fish found along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf Coast. Although they live close to the sea, they like to spend time in brackish or saltwater inlets, though you can find them offshore too, and they are abundant around the Lake Charles area.
Where to look
As we’ve seen, inshore inlets are your best bet, but if you can find mullet, follow them. The mullet’s jumping behavior disturbs the floor of the inlet and exposes food that the redfish want but usually have to dig for, so they often follow mullet schools.
If a redfish is smaller than 27” it’s just called a redfish, but longer than that and it is called a “bull” redfish. You can usually make do with a 6-14 pound test line for regular redfish, but go up to 20-30 if you’re looking for bull redfish. As for reels, you can handle standard redfish with a simple spinning reel, but since they like to hang out under or around shelter like docks and tree roots, getting the bull redfish out can be tricky with a spinner. For these fish, a baitcasting reel is a good idea for both more casting control and more leverage.
Redfish are bottom feeders, so to get down to them easily you’ll need a heavier line, and a heavier rod to support it. Somewhere around 8-10 lb weight should be good. If you’re using lures, you’d want to go with a slow action rod because it gives you a longer cast, but with live bait, a fast action rod is better since it gives more sensitivity (action referring to how fast a rod goes back to a normal position after being bent and released).
You can go either way on the bait, live or lure. Redfish love crabs, shrimp, and small fish, so artificial lures that mimic fish or shrimp, like those made by Down South Lures, are ideal when combined with weights or spoons. In shallow waters, where you’ll find the best early morning action, use topwater lures. They imitate the motions of an injured fish, and the redfish immediately sense it’s breakfast time. Whatever shape or style you use, try to match it to whatever is normally found in those waters.
Probably the three best live baits are:
- Blue crab – Redfish eat crab from an early age and it remains one of their favorites in later life! Normally you should use the whole crab, but if water visibility is low, breaking them apart will release the scent and bring the redfish in.
- Mullet – Finger mullet, which fit in the palm of your hand, can be used whole, and larger mullet as cut bait.
- Shrimp – This is another redfish favorite, and if they’re in the area they will definitely be interested. The only problem is that almost every fish likes shrimp, so you may attract the wrong kind, or even have it stolen by smaller fish.
Apart from these, you could use almost any kind of live baits provided, as with the lures, it’s similar to what’s already in the area.
If you want to get started fishing for redfish this season, Lake Charles Tackle can provide you with just the rods, reels, and lures you need. If you have specific questions you can call us at 337-479-2999 or email us on our website, otherwise, stop by our store in Lake Charles. Good luck!