Targeting Reds In Upper Coast Marsh & Rivers

Avoiding Rogue Waves, Rip Currents And Other Coastal Dangers
June 18, 2024

One of the best places to find redfish on the Upper Texas and Louisiana Coasts are the deep marsh canals along the Gulf Coast. They are loaded with redfish and often time huge ones.

Wolf Packs

Early and late redfish in these areas tend to roam in small “wolf packs” and feed along riprap, docks and drop-offs. These reds will not always feed aggressively on the surface which is why it is important to wear polarized shades and watch for reds pushing wakes or simply sitting around key pieces of cover.

Amber Borel redfish

Amber Borel caught this nice redfish while fishing on Sabine Lake. \

(Photo: Amber Borel)

Emptying Marsh Ponds

Target the areas where these canals empty large marsh ponds or dump into the bay or river on outgoing tides. Reds gather in the deepest holes and absolutely hammer the menhaden, shrimp and crabs coming out of the marsh. These canals typically range from 3-6 feet deep and where you have adjoining canals or the edge of a pond, tidal flow creates potholes. They can be as shallow as six inches or as deep as two feet and they are like magnets for reds.

A Gulp! Shrimp or Swimming Mullet fished under a popping cork is hard to beat. For live baiters try the same rig with the biggest shrimp you can find.

These are also great places to fish square-billed crankbaits which are perfect for shallow water and can cover lots of water which is key in these kinds of ecosystems. Simply throw them out and reel them in as fast as possible. Most are designed to “walk” most efficiently at a high rate of speed.

The “Cone of Vision”

Anglers should keep in mind that reds have what can best be described as a “cone of vision”; a term that was first coined by late outdoor writer/redfish guru Ed Holder. Reds can see about 180 degrees and the most likely strikes will be found in front of the red and perhaps just off to the side. If you have a visual on the reds, remember precision casting is important because they will rarely turn around to strike at something they only hear.

The author wore the HUK Apex Vert Icon Performance Hoodie on this South Padre trip. It was not only extremely comfortable but kept him a little cooler when the sun came out.

I had a recent experience with this “cone of vision” while flyfishing for redfish with my friend Gray Thornton and Capt. Eric Glass at South Padre Island.

Each cast was a matter of getting the fly in the direction the reds were facing but not too far ahead and not too much to the side.

If you happen to find these super-sized reds schooling be prepared for a chase. Big reds move fast when in the bays and river systems so don’t get upset if you get skunked a few times. Be patient and they will eventually surface again and give you another shot at hanging into one of these tackle-testing brutes.

Chester Moore


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