It’s that time for drag-screaming, rod-bending adventures if you’re an inland saltwater angler.
By all indications, redfish in the upper slot sizes are prowling marshes, bays and lakes to feed voraciously in fattening up for the rigors of the spawn.
Even some bull reds are venturing into inland waters to join up and enjoy the banquet.
It’s during mid-August through October when these bronzed beauties school up due chiefly to Mother Nature’s call to spawn. Baitfish, crabs and shrimp are targeted by redfish as they begin moving out of the marsh and into the edges and central portions of lakes and bays in good numbers.
Anglers savor these times as they will be ready and equipped to engage in battles with these pugnacious fish.
Calcasieu Lake – southwestern Louisiana
“In the early fall, I’ll find redfish mixed in with schools of trout in Calcasieu Lake,” Ken Chaumont of Egret Baits said.
“I’ll just cruise the lake at about 25 mph while picking up my binoculars to look around. If I see some gulls sitting and one of them flying around, that’s as good as gold to me in finding schooling redfish.”
To catch these lake reds, Chaumont will use Egret Baits’ Kick A Mullets and 3.5-inch Wedgetail Mullets on either 1/8- or ¼-ounce Beer Belly jigheads. He will also cast the VuDu Mullet in both the 3.5- and 4.5-inch models.
In the marshes bordering the lake on the southeastern and southwestern borders, Chaumont will cast Egret Baits’ Bayou Spin (spinnerbait) with a Wedgetail Mullet trailer. He will also use both sizes of Egret Baits’ jointed Kick A Mullets – the 4- and 5-inch versions.
“With the Bayou Spin, you have the flash and vibration of a gold Colorado blade with the added attraction of our patented Wedgetail design which makes that plastic tail flutter too,” Chaumont said.
A group of gulls will often hover over marsh pods of redfish, and Chaumont glasses for these birds as well.
Chaumont will cast his lures ahead of the tailing redfish or the wakes that usually signal their presence. Another lure that Chaumont will throw for marsh redfish with success is the 4-inch VuDu Shrimp under a VuDu Rattling Cork.
“Fall is just a great time to be fishing for redfish here in Calcasieu Lake,” Chaumont added. “It’s a numbers game at this time of the year. Anglers should have no trouble catching more than just a few and limiting their keepers to the sizes they choose.”
For more information regarding Egret Baits, visit their website at www.egretbaits.com. You can also join the Egret Baits’ Facebook Page for much more information about new and existing products at www.facebook.com/EgretBaits.
Dularge – southeastern Louisiana
In southeast Louisiana, the sheer magnitude of the marsh environment there dictates different strategies at catching the area’s bountiful redfish population.
“Right now (September), we’re catching them in deeper holes here out of Dularge,” said Capt. Bill Lake of Bayou Guide Service (www.captlake.com).
“In October and November before the big cold fronts hit, we’ll fish for them in lakes and duck ponds,” he said.
In the deeper waterways in areas 12- to 25-feet deep, Lake will use crab and minnows for bait as the reds will stack up in good numbers. Live baitfish and crabs will also frequent the deeper holes as they follow tidal movement and flow.
“We will also sight-fish for redfish in certain areas,” he said.
“One of my favorite areas is Lost Lake where we’ll drop our trolling motors and move away from the banks,” he said. “On some days, we could find schools of 5 to 6 fish and other schools may number as many as 35 redfish.”
Lake and his clients will find tailing redfish on gold spoons and Egret Baits LSU Bayou Chubs.
“If there’s baitfish and a good current, those redfish will school on the points in Coup Platte Pass,” the angler said. “We’ll go along the north and south banks and fish the points. These areas will often be shallow, 2 to 3 feet of water, and we’ll find the reds and just burn them.”
As for Lake’s other chosen artificials, these include Wedgetail Mullets, spinnerbaits, and VuDu Shrimp.
The larger specimens, what anglers refer to as bulls (20- to 40-pounders), also prowl in numbers inshore but also near barrier islands, passes and beaches in the Gulf.
“Bull reds can be found out of Dularge in Grand Pass,” Lake said. “Just anchor up along the Pass and cast crabs on Carolina rigs with a 2-ounce weight and a No. 9 hook, and you can catch bull reds and black drum from 25 to 40 pounds when the tide is moving,” he said.
For more information, you can contact Capt. Lake at 985-637-3712.