Few fish are as popular as redfish – and sometimes, it seems as though few are as tough to catch, which is why earlier this year we published How to Catch More Red Drum: Three Tips. But those tactics related to warm-water conditions. If you’re ready to set your sights on late fall reds as the water cools off, use these five tricks and you’ll hook more of ‘em every time you fish.

redfish caught in chesapeake bay
Don’t let those beady little eyes fool you – redfish actually have reasonably good eyesight.
  1. Note the down-turned mouth of a puppy drum, and you’ll realize that these fish feed on bottom most of the time. Keep your baits low in the water column, and you’ll have a better chance of getting redfish bites.
  2. For whatever reason (some theorize it’s the vibrations) gold spoons are a favorite of shallow water redfish. Cast and retrieved through shallows with a slow wobble, they can be deadly. Those with rattles, such as the Nemire Red Ripper, often out-perform other styles.
  3. Weedbeds are favored feeding areas for red drum. Look to catch them in the “potholes” (circular holes in the weedbeds). Reds tend to move into these holes during falling tides, and can be caught either by cast and retrieving through them or by tossing a bait into the area of open water. Another effective way to pry reds out of weedbeds is to slow-troll alongside of them with un-weighted spoons, screwtail jigs, or BKD-style lures. Keep your boat just far enough out that you don’t drive through the weeds, and post an angler on the foredeck armed with a spinning rod and a lure; when he or she spots depressions or near-by potholes in the weeds, the angler can take a shot at them. This can be particularly effective as the weedbeds die back and shrink in the falling temperatures.
  4. The water you’re fishing in is discolored? In stained or muddy water, try lures that are root beer colored. Reds seem to love attacking root beer in brownish water. Remember to slow down your presentation, and you’ll sometimes catch just as many reds in dirty water as you will in gin-clear conditions. Boost your chances even more by using noise makers and vibration-producers, which redfish respond well to. Chuggers, rattling lures, and lures with vibrating blades should all be on your list of red-friendly offerings.
  5. Try using finger mullet in inlets and the surf. Live is best, but fresh cut mullet works well, too. As these baitfish migrate out of the bays and creeks and head south down the coast, those redfish will be waiting for them - and feeding on 'em.

Redfish Factoid: Many anglers believe that drum have a keen sense of smell and poor vision, but studies by marine biologists at the University of Miami have more or less debunked this theory; in fact, their eye sight is average for a fish.