Recently I sat down with Captain Mike Oppegaard of Topsail Island, NC to talk about fishing for summer redfish. Mike told me a lot about his approach to redfishing. It was clear that this seasoned veteran has experience and knowledge of the sport and species. He was quick with his response and he showed no hesitance in those answers. Rather than learning a lot about cutting edge new tactics, I saw that Mike was well grounded in the basics of fishing and especially that of redfishing. His approach is without complication or overthinking, a problem that many anglers are guilty of. Below is a rundown on Mike’s redfishing approach in the creeks and shallows. It’s great for both new redfishing anglers and even those that have been fishing for years. Read below as Mike removes the complication from the sometimes complicated part of saltwater fishing.
First, Mike likes to start by slowly and quietly easing into the creek. While doing this, he’s looking for all the signs that he will need for his strategy. Things like tailing fish that is an indication that the reds are eating on the bottom. He starts by rigging a plastic shrimp or one of the artificial crab baits that are becoming popular. He also looks for moving bait that will tell him that bigger fish are nearby. Trying to get a perspective on the bottom will also allow you to better understand what the eating strategy is for the redfish. The presence of crabs or shrimp like we mentioned earlier or moving bait is another tactic is the Z-Man Paddle Z with no weight with a wide gap thin wire hook. This set up will easily bounce off the weeds and usually stay above the oyster bottom rather than becoming snagged.
He also likes to use larger plastic baits. This allows him many times to catch a flounder while redfishing. This is a great way to maximize your day on the water. The flounder and the redfish share the same environment and they will pursue similar baits.
Mike really prefers topwater fishing for redfish, using lures like the popular Zara Spook and the Rapala Skidder Walk topwater lures. He prefers the smaller baits that make less of a splash when they’re cast. His preferred location is a point with slack water on one side and bait moving on the other. Again, the bait serves as a good indication of reds in the area. Once the conditions are right, casting and working the lure while looking for the movement of a redfish is key.
As you can see Mike finds great success by sticking to a few tried and true tactics for fishing for reds. Each are relatively easy and work well with his large number of charter patrons. Mike proves that you don’t have to use gimmick lures and tactics to be a successful redfish angler. It’s redfishing made simple.
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