Most of us anglers grew up fishing freshwater lakes and rivers, usually with a bobber and small hook with worms, crickets or other type of baits in search for hungry panfish. As we grow and refine our fishing skills, we begin looking for bigger fish and more exciting ways to catch them. For anyone who fishes saltwater, there’s nothing much more satisfying than seeing, stalking and catching a redfish on the flats. It’s a skill that revolves around patience, silence and perfection. But once mastered, you are now the skinny water assassin and will silently pick off redfish, after redfish, after redfish using these few tips.
First off, you’ll want to get yourself a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Be sure that they are indeed polarized; these will become your biggest asset when it comes to sighting redfish. Amber lenses tend to work well in shallow water flats that may contain oyster bars and mixed, grassy bottom. Pair them with your favorite ball cap or wide-brimmed hat for ultimate visibility.
Secondly, and I cannot stress this enough, is to be silent. No talking, coughing, walking, motoring, dropping pliers, heck, you may even want to take some breathing exercises so you’re not breathing to heavy. Get my point? Be silent! Fish feel vibrations in the water much better than they can see. Consider decking out your boat with deck padding such as Marine Mat. This will dampen any noise if you do drop those pliers or have to take a step or two. Also, kill your motors and even electronics. Not even a trolling motor or your depth finder, you won’t need them back in the marsh. Since you’ll only be in a couple feet of water at most, stand and pole your way through the area all while keeping your senses on high alert; quietly.
Speaking of senses. Don’t head out sight fishing with pink eye or a bad ear infection, you will be relying heavily on both your sight and hearing. Not only will you want to keep those eyes open for actual fish silhouettes, but sight fishing also means looking out for tell tale signs that redfish are in the vicinity. Things such as big wakes, bait scattering, blow ups, tails protruding from the water and even the backs of fish as they chase bait up into the shallows are great signs that you have hungry redfish in the area. Your hearing will also play that same role by listening to these signs that may happen behind you or outside of your field of view.
These are just a few things that will get you started as you begin your sight fishing tactics. Stay tuned for part II as we talk about the importance of tides, sun positioning and lure/bait placement. But in the meantime, practice your breathing, because you’ll gasp once it all comes together!