Try Coastal Rivers For Winter Reds

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Over the past five winters, my primary destination for coastal fishing has been the Sabine River, although this wasn’t always my first choice.

Often, relentless winds and a demanding schedule have compelled me to fish whenever possible, regardless of the conditions, making the Sabine River my reliable fallback. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

During this time of year, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern: if I can locate schools of mullet, I can usually find sizable redfish as well. Here are the insights I’ve gathered and the observations I’ve made:

  1. As mentioned earlier, redfish tend to congregate around mullet. Specifically, I’ve had success near the Interstate 10 bridge along the saltwater line, where I’ve caught some impressive redfish. However, these reds are most active when large numbers of mullet are present. Although there are plenty of small shad in the area, redfish primarily feed on mullet. Keep this in mind when scouting for fishing spots.
  2. The bayous along the river, especially to the north of the bay systems, also harbor big redfish. Most of these fish are found at the mouths of the bayous where they meet the river or near the drop-offs in the main river channel. If you don’t spot mullet on the water’s surface, use your electronics to search beneath the surface, as the reds might be holding there. An ideal scenario is a steep drop-off with a high concentration of big mullet.
  3. Redfish in deeper water (or along the edges of deep water) have shown a preference for crankbaits with deep-sounding rattles or none at all. Lately, I’ve had success with the Super Pogy from Bomber Saltwater Grade, which emits a deep-resonating sound due to its large ball bearings, and the Rick Clunn R2 Squarebill from Luck E. Strike, which has no rattles. Both of these options have yielded good results for me recently, whereas crankbaits with small rattles did not perform as well.

I’ve always had more confidence in using crankbaits with louder rattles when targeting redfish in deeper water. Although reds can be opportunistic and strike various lures, the louder rattles seem to work better in these conditions.

So, on those windy days when the lake and jetties are inaccessible, consider giving the Sabine River a try. You might just stumble upon some exceptionally large redfish.


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