Inshore fishermen get to experience the big bull redfish migration. These monsters start their migration pattern from creeks, rivers, and upper sound areas before making way to the beach fronts and then the ocean. Schooling baits such as mullet and menhaden provide much feeding opportunity for these fish.
How to find the Big Bull RedFish
If you see any surface action, stop, wait and look for any underwater turbulence or seabirds circling. If there is any bird feeding action, always check out the size and type of the seabirds. If you only see pelicans, you’ve most likely got schools of menhaden down under. However, if you have pelicans as well as other small sea birds then you have a possible big feeding frenzy below the surface! Take it as your cue to “Fish Here!”
Another great place to look for fish are areas where currents come together to form some sort of a rip. Now not all rips will hold the interest of fish, but I can guarantee you once you figure out what to look for, “instant hook ups” can happen.
Best baits to use for Big Bulls Reds
When anchored in areas around live oyster beds I suggest using small adjustable floats with about 12 inches of 30 to 40 pound test fluorocarbon leader with either semicircle or a standard 2/0 to 3/0 Kahle style hook. Best baits for this rig are going to be lip-hooked live mullet or peanut menhaden. You can also use live shrimp hooked up under the horn. If live bait isn’t an option, there are plenty other baits that will work such as mullet cut in steaks like a loaf of bread, or air dried shrimp threaded onto the hook. When working rips or actual feeding schools of red fish, I suggest using diamond shape jigs (1 to 3 ounces) with or without red or green or yellow miniature tube lures. Jigs such as the 1 to 3 ounce Shimano Butterfly with double hooks located at the head of the lure are good to go. Please know that it has come to our attention that most of the brand and non-brand name jigs with hook or hooks attached to the head do work.
Offshore bottom fishing and trolling
Lots of different bites can happen in the most unusual places. Fish start their fall migration patterns. With moving on their minds, all fish have to bulk up as fast as they can, which boils down to major feeding times all of the time. Near shore artificial reefs and natural live bottom areas will hold lots of different size bottom and top water fish. For those fishermen that want to get some big bottom fish action, I suggest filling the live well before reaching the fishing grounds. The best place to stop to load up on bait are artificial reefs in around 55 feet of water. Sadly, most of the yellow buoys marking the artificial reefs are gone. These buoys held the interest of all types and sizes of bait fish. Now you need to make sure that you have GPS coordinates for all structures on the artificial reef that you are going to fish. Check out http://coastalgadnr.org/node/2089to get information about Georgia’s artificial reefs.
Gold hook Sabiki bait rigs normally have 6 to 8 small hooks meaning lots of bait each time you drop. Always make sure to have at least a dozen bait rigs in the old tackle box, because once you’ve got your fish hooked up, larger fish can attack, especially offshore. If this happens, the best thing to do is move to another spot until the big fish feeding frenzy stops. These rigs are made for small baits, not larger fish. The best live baits are cigar minnows, Spanish mackerel, Boston mackerel, and any others that are hanging with the school. However, we have been catching lots of thread fin herring and horny bellies.
When bottom fishing I suggest fishing in 100 feet (Savannah Snapper Banks) to 200 feet (edge of Gulf Stream) of water over any broken live bottom with ledges. Drop your lipped or dorsal hooked bait to the bottom and hang on for a grouper biting affair. And that’s not all. You might catch cubera snapper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, white grunts or porgy. The bottom line is it’s time to GO FISH! Please always check current regulations before heading out. The best website for regulations is http://www.safmc.net/
For those fishermen that prefer top water fishing, King mackerel are being caught live lining or trolling around naval towers and any live bottom areas at the snapper banks. Best old school trolling lure for king mackerel is silver or black 3 ½ inch Drone spoon pulled 30 feet with 80 lb test monofilament leader behind a number 3 planer.
During the spring when the waters to the west are much cooler than the stream, a great edge forms. This edge is where large fish feed on the smaller fish. This happens again in the late fall. Keep an eye on the surface temperatures: when the cooling event starts it will be time to go!