It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre

As winter starts its move into spring time, life returns to the Lower Laguna Madre. Not so much as sea life, but human life as well. Hunting season is winding down and fishing season is coming on. Itís still a little chilly on the water but starting to warm up and the redfish love the explosion of bait hatches that is starting. From crabs to shrimp and all the hatchlings of mullet, perch, and other minnows that redfish love to nibble on are now starting to happen and when this smorgasbord of new food arrives, so do the redfish in hot pursuit.

In early February and on into March things begin to heat up both on the water and in the water. Itís a great time to be out fishing so without a charter for the day my girlfriend and I head out to enjoy the day fishing for redfish. I mean they are there in mass and no one else is out there catching them so we might as well right? We head out in my Ibis to an area we call the drum boats. I am standing on the seat looking down into the clear waters and watch as I pass by several reds spooking away from the boat, so I throttled back and we set up our first drift.

I rigged Lola up with a new rig Iíve been fishing for about a year now, a #5 circle hook with a 4" new penny Gulp hooked on in the nose of the bait about one half inch from the nose. I tell her to fish the bait with short twitches just fast enough to keep it off the bottom. She makes her first cast without a hit but on the next cast a nice red comes up behind the bait and slurps it like he hadnít eaten in days. The fight is on and with the water still cool the redfish has a lot of spunk and puts up a great fight. About four minutes later I net a nice five pound red and she makes the comment, "looks like redfish on the half shell tonight" with a big smile on her face.

This time of the year is a great time to fish for reds and there are several ways that are productive in fishing for the redfish. From popping corks with shrimp, to gold spoons, to bottom fishing with cut bait, or jigging worm or shrimp patterns in plastic, all are very productive ways to fish for reds. However, sometimes some techniques are better than others in different locations. So how do you determine which way is best? Most of the time I will try to catch them on an artificial first. Most times you can watch a fishís reaction to the bait and then determine what you might need to do to make him eat if he doesnít on that retrieve. For instance, if the fish are following a lure but not taking then I will switch to another. If that doesnít work then I will go to cut bait and let it sit on the bottom and let the fish find its own meal. A lot of times this will work better than anything else Iíve found. Itís not as much fun as artificial but it can be productive. Another thing Iíll do is switch up the retrieve, either slow down the presentation or speed it up. A lot of times if a fish is following but not taking if you speed up when he starts to follow he thinks its getting away and will then pounce on it so it doesnít get away.

At the end of our day when we got home from a great day of fishing, Meemawís grandson Colby, wanted his picture taken with her fish so hereís a shot of what we caught that day along with one of my future fisherman.

Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email

Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray

Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tarpon Techniques
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre

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