Despite the best marketing attempts of lure manufacturers, casting soft-plastic baits is not the only way to catch redfish. In fact, under some of the less-than-ideal prevailing weather conditions that have plagued the state’s coastal regions, notably high winds, cold fronts and freshwater inundations, live baits may be the best choice when targeting redfish. It’s a situation that makes Capt. Jimmy Skinner of Fontaine Charters smile.
The reasons Skinner (843-869-3446) is smiling are many. First, despite the recent cold fronts, high winds, and copious rain that has dumped freshwater into the state’s coastal regions, knowing how and where to fish live and cut baits has maintained Skinner’s typical catch ratios for his clients. The other reason is that Skinner’s base of operations on Edisto Island is Edisto Seafood. When he’s not guiding fishing trips, he’s running crab traps and selling fresh fish and shrimp. Finding fresh bait is the least of his worries.
“There are days when redfish prefer one bait over another,” said Skinner. “In this case it’s beneficial to provide a variety and let the fish choose.”
Skinner’s typical offerings include cut blue crab, whole shrimp, fresh cut fish, and live mud minnows. Rather than maneuvering his guide boat in and around likely redfish holding spots to cast artificial baits, Skinner prefers to anchor his boat or nose it up on an opposing bank in the back of a tidal creek and fan cast these cut baits.
“A bend in a river or creek is always going to be a great potential redfish holding spot,” said Skinner. “Add in a downed tree or two, an undercut bank, or a rock wall and sooner or later, redfish will show up to feed.”
Skinner prefers a falling tide as redfish move out of grass flats to retreat to deep holes or a rising tide before the flats become accessible to the fish. The guide will rig several 10 – 20 pound class rods with Carolina rigs. A 2/0 – 3/0 circle hook completes the rig so that when a fish picks up the bait, it has a chance to move off and position the hook before he begins reeling against the fish.
In the attached video, join Skinner as he demonstrates how to rig live and cut baits for redfish.