Posts Tagged ‘tailing redfish’

Tailing Redfish

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Tailing Redfish 

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

shallow water redfishFishing for tailing redfish has got to be one of the most exciting ways to catch fish in the Lowcountry; possibly in all of shallow water fishing. This type of fishing combines all fishing skills plus it is very similar to hunting in the way that you stalk the fish. Picture this; you’re on a pristine short grass flat, the water is rising and in the distance you hear water splashing and fish crashing around. As the water rises the splashing gets closer and closer until you look in the distance and see rings of water moving outward form a copper-blue tinged tail. Then another and another, and you realize that you’re in the middle of a hot tailing bite. The only question is can you keep a steady casting hand as your heart races harder with every tail that pops up. This is fishing for tailing reds.

tailing redfishWhat is a tailing fish? A tailing fish is a fish that exposes its tail during the course of feeding or while moving form one place to another. Other inshore fish such as bonefish and permit tail for the same reasons as redfish. Many offshore fish tail as they surf down large swells. In fact, we look for specific offshore “tailing” conditions where sailfish, cobia and even mahi-mahi will tail. In this area we have a great fishery for red drum, and reds are notorious for tailing as they feed on the bottom. If you look at the mouth of a redfish it faces downward, this is specifically for feeding on the bottom. Redfish don’t feed exclusively feed on the bottom but they do when picking up dead baits and especially crab and shrimp. The main reason that redfish push up onto our local flats is to feed on fiddler crabs, which are on the bottom, which in turn causes the fish to expose their tails as they feed in shallow water.

shallow water fishing in beaufort and hilton head, sThe equipment needed when fishing for tailing reds is a brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, a good rod and reel combo lined with 8-12 lb test monofilament line or similar braid. There are a whole host of good baits for redfish. Live shrimp and mullet work well. If you prefer lures I would go with gulp baits, screw tails, jerk baits, spoons, or even top water poppers. As with all saltwater fish I use a monofilament leader. For redfish I use either 20 or 30 lb leader joined to the main line with a bimini twist and back to back uni-knot combination. A few other items that may come in handy are a pair of wading shoes (an old pair of tennis shoes work well), a fanny-pack tackle box and a flow-well for live bait fishing.

light tackle redfishThere are very specific conditions that need to come together in order for redfish to move onto a flat and feed. First, you need to find hard sand flats that have short grass and fiddler crabs. I like to look for flats close to open water where the fish don’t have to move far from their normal activities to get onto the short grass flats. You also need to find flats where there are good numbers of fish close by to begin with. There are numerous good flats that could support redfish but don’t because there is not a local population of fish near that area. Once the fish move onto the flat I have noticed that they move in with the tide but stay relatively close to the tall grass. The fish also move off of the flat quickly when the tide starts to recede as should you to keep from getting stranded. The major factor when looking for tailing flats is the tide. You need a full or new moon high incoming tide to have enough water on the flats to support fish.

Beaufort Inshore RedfishThere are two major techniques used to fish for tailing redfish. The first is out of a boat using a poling platform and push pole and the next is wade fishing. The only advantage to using a boat here is that you don’t get your feet wet. By all means wade fishing is the way to go when fishing for tailing reds. In either case, working the tailing flats requires a good eye. This is sight fishing at its best, a good hat and polarized glasses are a must. Generally, when the fish start tailing you want to look for a fish that is actively feeding and stalk the fish. I’ve watched the same fish feed for over 15 minuets until I took the right shot. A good cast is a must; realistically you need to be able to accurately cast 40-50 feet of line to have a shot at these fish. You want to place the bait about 4-5 feet in front of the fish and move it when the fish pops its head out of the sand. These fish also respond to scent so bait such as a Berkley Gulp will increase your chances of hooking up.

Tailing conditions are prime for fly fisherman. An 8-9 wt. rod, matching reel and 150-200 yards of backing toped with floating line will be good for these fish. A few flies that I would recommend are the clouser minnow, deceivers, sliders and crab patterns. In general, redfish prefer white, brown, copper and gold. Good luck and tight lines.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

 

 

Redfish on Topwater

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

While out on an evening tailing bite this fall I managed to get a really cool video of a redfish tailing and then plow into an artificial bait just at sunset, check it out!

Beaufort, SC Tailing Redfish

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Tailing Redfish

beaufort tailing redfishWithout a doubt we are lucky to have such a great inshore fishery here in the Beaufort area. We have the opportunity to catch redfish on a year round basis on light tackle spinning and fly rods using artificial lures, live bait and flies. Moreover, we use a number of different fishing tactics that would include poling the shallow water mud fats, baiting the oyster bars, grass edges and creek mouths and sight fishing for tailing redfish. Though catching redfish by any method is always fun, sight fishing adds a whole new element! As we approach spring this becomes ever so true as the redfish will begin to flood the shallow short grass flats in search of fiddler crabs and thus marking the beginning of the tailing season. What is a tailing redfish you may ask? As redfish feed along the bottom in shallow waters they dip their noses down to the bottom thus exposing their tails above the surface as they feed. It really is quite a sight to see and gets anglers across South Carolina fired up to go fishing.

Imagine this: Your wading along a shallow short grass flat in mere inches of water as the tide slowly starts to flood in through the spartina grass. In the distance you hear fish crashing through the grass as they push in to feed on fiddler crabs. It doesn’t take long for the tide to flood up above your ankles and as you look down the flat you can see a red tail tipped in blue waving above the surface. Within a few minutes you see another and then another, before you realize it you are in the middle of a red hot tailing bite. The only question now is whether or not you can keep hands from shaking long enough make an accurate cast to place a fly in front of a feeding redfish!

I consider fishing for tailing redfish to be the ultimate hunt with a fishing rod. It really combines the sports of hunting and fishing in the way that we pick out one fish, stalk it until we have the right shot and then fire away with the fishing rod in hopes of getting a bite. Though you can fish for tailing reds out of the boat I prefer to wade fish because you do have an advantage in mobility and a lower profile… plus it really adds to the hunt! As far as tackle I recommend 8-17 pound spinning rods spooled with braided line or an 8 weight fly rod. Most soft plastic lures will work along with small crab fly pattens and even live bait. For wading the flats you simply need an old pair of lace up tennis shoes (lace them tight to keep periwinkles out) and a fanny pack to carry your extra tackle. Good luck and until next time Catch em Up! Captain Charlie

Captain Charlie Beadon

843-592-0897

http://www.beaufortsportfishing.com/

Tailing Redfish in Beaufort, SC

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Tails Up! Tailing Redfish Action

As I power my flats boat off of the trailer I can hardly contain my thoughts of the day to come. All year long I have been waiting for the summer tailing bite and it’s finally here. Once we load our gear, we motor up and run down the river winding through narrow creeks and marshland to one of my favorite grass flats. When we first arrive the flats are completely dry, and you would probably look at me and laugh as I tell you “this flat will be filled with fish in the next hour”. But as water creeps in with the tide the flats begin to flood and off in the distance we hear a crash in the grass. I have heard that distinct sound before and know the reds are pushing their way in to feed. Over the next few minutes we hear more fish pushing in until we see our first redfish gently waving its tail off in the distance as it roots in the bottom for a morning snack. The beauty of simply watching these fish in the wild do what comes naturally to them makes the trip a success. It gets even sweeter as I watch my fishing partner ease up to an unsuspecting fish and place a fly just in front of its path. He pauses for a moment, gives the fly a short strip and with an eruption of water he is hooked up! After a hard fight and a quick photo we release the worn out red back to the water for another day. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

 

Beaufort, SC Tailing Redfish

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Tailing Redfish

beaufort tailing redfishWithout a doubt we are lucky to have such a great inshore fishery here in the Beaufort area. We have the opportunity to catch redfish on a year round basis on light tackle spinning and fly rods using artificial lures, live bait and flies. Moreover, we use a number of different fishing tactics that would include poling the shallow water mud fats, baiting the oyster bars, grass edges and creek mouths and sight fishing for tailing redfish. Though catching redfish by any method is always fun, sight fishing adds a whole new element! As we approach spring this becomes ever so true as the redfish will begin to flood the shallow short grass flats in search of fiddler crabs and thus marking the beginning of the tailing season. What is a tailing redfish you may ask? As redfish feed along the bottom in shallow waters they dip their noses down to the bottom thus exposing their tails above the surface as they feed. It really is quite a sight to see and gets anglers across South Carolina fired up to go fishing.

Imagine this: Your wading along a shallow short grass flat in mere inches of water as the tide slowly starts to flood in through the spartina grass. In the distance you hear fish crashing through the grass as they push in to feed on fiddler crabs. It doesn’t take long for the tide to flood up above your ankles and as you look down the flat you can see a red tail tipped in blue waving above the surface. Within a few minutes you see another and then another, before you realize it you are in the middle of a red hot tailing bite. The only question now is whether or not you can keep hands from shaking long enough make an accurate cast to place a fly in front of a feeding redfish!

I consider fishing for tailing redfish to be the ultimate hunt with a fishing rod. It really combines the sports of hunting and fishing in the way that we pick out one fish, stalk it until we have the right shot and then fire away with the fishing rod in hopes of getting a bite. Though you can fish for tailing reds out of the boat I prefer to wade fish because you do have an advantage in mobility and a lower profile… plus it really adds to the hunt! As far as tackle I recommend 8-17 pound spinning rods spooled with braided line or an 8 weight fly rod. Most soft plastic lures will work along with small crab fly pattens and even live bait. For wading the flats you simply need an old pair of lace up tennis shoes (lace them tight to keep periwinkles out) and a fanny pack to carry your extra tackle. Good luck and until next time Catch em Up! Captain Charlie

Captain Charlie Beadon

843-592-0897

http://www.beaufortsportfishing.com/