With the increasing pressure on inshore fishing, more and more anglers are heading out the inlet to nearshore and offshore reefs and structures. They’re not necessarily looking for Grouper or Snapper, but instead, species that you would commonly find inshore in the creeks and estuaries. Species like Redfish. These fishing grounds outside the inlet are becoming more and more popular with fishermen looking for a less pressured option they can easily access.
The transition is rather easy with only a handful of changes to adapt to the new tactics. The first is the time of year. Targeting offshore and nearshore Redfish means focusing on May and June and then again in the cooler fall months. I start the rigging process with a jigging rod and a 4000 series reel that’s spooled with a 40-pound braid. It’s important to remember that the stronger line is necessary due to the larger fish and underwater structure. I then move to the actual rig that includes a standard Carolina rig with a 12-inch leader made with 30-pound fluorocarbon, a wide bend hook, and a 1 ½ to 2-ounce egg sinker weight.
It’s important to start over the actual structure and get to the bottom quickly. This will reduce getting hung on the bottom or being cut by a passing fish. Determining your jigging method is based on how rugged the bottom is. I always recommend making a straight drop down when you’re over a wreck due to the greater chance of snagging. If you find that the bottom allows you to jig without hang-ups, then you can move further out from the actual structure. This is where you will many times find the Redfish waiting for smaller baitfish over the structure. These Reds on the outskirts of the structure are usually larger and in a feeding frame of mind. If the bite is lite, then move around until the bite improves, moving no more than 50 feet from the structure or reef. It also helps if you look for a water temp of around 70 degrees. This is one of the main reasons that the best fishing for offshore Redfishing is in the early summer and the fall months. Fishing is just the best in this range.
Believe me, the reef/structure can be a new way of fishing for you. There are days that we have great results while the inshore fishing is off. There are trips that we have caught 22 in a single day and they were as large as 35 inches. They’re out there and waiting on you. Take plenty of tackle. You’ll need it.
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