Author: Outcast Fishing
Fall Bull Reds In SC & GA
Every October and November our inshore waters are invaded by the largest Redfish Ive ever seen. These adult drum spend most of the year offshore, and for about 6 weeks, they enter the sounds and creeks to spawn and feed. The average redfish is anywhere between 40-50 inches long, 20-40 pounds.
The smaller juvenile reds will inhabit the tidal creeks and marsh grass till about 5 years old. When they reach maturity, they join the older folks offshore and become a giant that can reach over 30 years old.
Targeting these fish isn't very difficult this time of year. As they enter our nearshore waters in October, they're very structure orientated. 20 to 40 feet of water seems to be the preference, and if you can find extreme live bottom, or a plateau with rock, thats where I'd start. As the tide switches and starts moving too quick to get baits down, look for shallow ledges where the current forms a rip on the surface. Nearly exposed sandbars work well, too.
As for bait, mullet or menhaden. FRESH. If its frozen, it'll usually work, but fresh menhaden cut in half is deadly. Mullet chunks work great, too. When these big redfish were in tidal creeks as juveniles, mullet was a staple of their diet. Don't use live. As these drum get larger, they get slower. A 40lb drum doesn't want to chase a menhaden around for 5 minutes, they want a delicious, fresh, and EASY meal.
Tackle is personal preference, but I recommend not going too light. Ive been using the LG Truth Reels with different rods, for fishing line, I use 65lb test braid. Its a good fight, but we occasionally get a tarpon while fishing for reds and sandbar sharks are always in the area. Also, these large red drum are old and not as spry as they once were. A long battle on extra light gear can kill these fish, or get them eaten. As for leader and hook; 4-5 feet of 200lb mono with a medium/small circle hook. These fish aren't leader shy, so as long as its mono, go as heavy as you want.
A few more tips:
These Redfish eat like a cobia or tarpon. They don't bite the bait, they suck it in, wash it around, and if they feel the hook POOF....they spit it out. The first thing I teach my clients is how I want them to hook these fish. Don't set the hook, as the rod begins to "bow down" in the rod holder, crank the reel as quick as you can, while in the rod holder. After 3-4 seconds of cranking, pull it out of the rod holder and he's all yours. Hope these tips from my fishing report help put you on a few monsters, and if they don't, feel free to contact me with any questions.
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