Reading the Water

With winter’s commencement, shallow coastal waters will become progressively clearer and that  means an increasingly higher level of apprehension among redfish. Maximize your opportunities by learning to interpret fishy signs such as:

Nervous Water – Redfish might be feeding or simply tarrying in a cozy spot. Either way, when a section of surface moves counter to, or otherwise different from surrounding water, there’s likely redfish below.

Tailers – When redfish turn head-down to feed over shallow areas, their tails break the surface to stabilize their posture. That’s a clear sign of feeding reds and a good time to hop a jig through the active area.

Look for this particularly when afternoon incoming tides grant feeding access to shallow flats that have had several hours to absorb the sun’s warmth.

Smoke – Also known as “dust-offs,” these sudden puffs of sediment indicate a resting fish that suddenly spooked. Reds rarely settle alone, so stay alert for other close-range targets.

Pushes – When a school of redfish move from one area to another, their combined mass moves a wall of water. On clear days, you may also see an orange-red tone beneath the surface.

Wakes – Individual fish cause smaller displacements, but you’ll see distinct V-shaped wakes will disclose distance and direction. Remember, mullet wander, but redfish move with distinct purpose.