Many anglers get caught up in the game of trophy hunting. And sure, catching monsters is fun! But, so is catching numbers. And if you want to catch redfish after redfish (tip: this is a great way to introduce kids to fishing) reach for your ultralight gear and target mini-reds.
Just what constitutes ultralight differs from one person to the next, so I’ll specify how I see it when targeting fish like this in the 15 to 20 inch range. A 6’0″ light action rod with a 2000 spinning reel, spooled up with six pound braid and topped with 10 pound fluorocarbon leader. This gear has enough beef that you won’t force an undersized fish through a fight that’s too lengthily, and you still have a fair shot at landing most slot-sized fish, but you also won’t overpower smaller fish.
Pair this up with a quarter-ounce mini-spinnerbait in white or chartreuse with a silver or gold spinner. Reds go bananas for these things. If you want a better shot at catching speck as well, opt for a three-inch paddletail on a quarter or half ounce head. A four-incher may be better for tempting larger fish, but anything over 12 or so inches will usually hit the three-inchers.
With this rig in hand all you need to do is find a riprap point, a shoreline with docks, or some grassbeds. The mini-reds are far more plentiful than larger fish, and when you target them specifically it usually isn’t tough to find relatively large numbers. Added bonus: the little guys aren’t as temperamental about tides and currents and tend to feed most or all of the day.
Will you catch a Facebook-brag-worth trophy doing this? Nope. But if you’re just out to have some fun on a short morning or afternoon of fishing, of if you want to get a newbie plenty of action, reach for that ultralight gear.