Guide Kevin Blair may love fishing artificials for redfish, especially topwaters, but he doesn’t discount live or cut bait. When reds are being picky, Blair will switch to cut or live bait: shrimp, mullet, mud minnows fiddler and blue crabs. 

For live shrimp, mud minnows and finger mullet, Blair will use a popping cork with a 15 to 18 inches of 25-pound monofilament leader with a No. 2 circle hook. For live fiddler crabs, he will use 1/16-ounce split shot and No. 1 mosquito hook.

When fishing blue crabs, Blair pulls the claws and skirt off, then cuts the body into quarters, and inserts the hook thru the soft cartilage around the leg. 

 For crabs or cut mullet on bottom, Blair uses a Carolina rig with enough split shot to hold the bait on the bottom and a short, 30-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to 20-pound braid with a No. 3 circle hook. Sometimes, he will fish a float with a 4-foot leader if the fish are not holding on the bottom.  

When casting to reds, Blair said, “You have to get out in front of them. Throw to a bare spot in the grass with cut bait and wait for the fish to come to you. Make it the fish’s idea to eat and trigger a strike.”