Topwater Redfish: Learn their “cone of vision”

My mentor, the late outdoor writer for the Port Arthur News Ed Holder caught more redfish on topwaters than anyone I have ever seen. In fact, he only used topwaters to catch them. He refused spoons, plastics, etc and he caught reds all the time.

As noted in my book Texas Reds He said anglers need to be mindful of what he called the redfish “cone of vision.”

This is the zone that an angler should try to work around when sight casting to reds. If a redfish’s head were a clock, its eyes would be at 2 and 10 o’clock. The fish can basically “kind of” see to 4 o’clock on the right side and 8 o’clock on the left, but 5, 6 and 7 o’clock are blind spots.

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This is a red’s “cone of vision”.
(Photo by Chester Moore, Jr.)

An angler should always make a point to throw the bait directly in front of the fish or even with its head. The closer you get to the center of the “cone” the better chance you of catching a fish. Some anglers like to throw past reds and then work the plug to them.

They would be more successful if the learned to throw their plug so that it makes a gentle landing and put it in the “cone of vision”.

The fish may strike at the bait if it hears it hit behind the eyes, but Holder says the combination of seeing and hearing the action of a topwater plug is what will drive a redfish to hit most of the time.

With this in mind, it is worth noting that it is almost a miracle of physics for a redfish to strike bait on the surface. The mouth of a red is designed to descend downward to feed on crustaceans on the bottom, not extend outward to gulp up schooling fish.

If you watch closely, you can see the fish turn slightly to the side so they can strike the bait. Cool stuff!