An alternative to fishing with cut bait is to use a lure that's left along the bottom of the water. Anglers simply toss it out and wait. This strategy plays into where redfish feed -- along the ocean floor. Adding scent to the lure is crucial to the technique. This method also has the advantage of not frightening the fish, as boats with motors or too much movement may do. Deadsticking is often used in mangroves as well as in open water. [source: McQueen]
Catching Redfish with Cut Bait
Redfish, which travel in large schools for breeding purposes, prefer a diet of finger mullet, shrimp or crab. They are bottom-feeders, relying heavily on their sense of smell to catch prey. In fact, smell, sound and sight all help this fish find food -- and redfish eat a lot. High rates of consumption fuel their rapid growth. Redfish can be 12 inches long by the end of their first year. [source: Florida Outdoors]
Unlike live bait tossed into grass or mangroves to lure the redfish out, cut bait won't swim away. This gives the angler a major advantage, as the scent of cut bait will entice the redfish out of its protective cover. Two- to 4-inch mullets (also known as "finger mullets") are the easiest cut bait to find. Other cut bait favorites include menhaden, spots and pinfish. A nice alternative is a mantis shrimp, or "shrimp mammy/mammie." If you're wondering what a shrimp mammy looks like, picture a praying mantis/mini-lobster (one that could fit in the palm of your hand) hybrid. Mantis shrimp can be purchased from commercial shrimp trawlers. [source: McNally]
Leaving the rod in the holder with a loosened drag is key to using cut bait. However, if using a circle hook, setting the hook is unnecessary. Instead, merely lift the tip of the rod and wind in all the slack. [source: Kibler] The only occasion not to use cut bait -- or tossed live bait, for that matter -- is when diving birds are around. Gulls and terns are equally interested in catching redfish and will grab them first. [source: Katsarelis]
Although some anglers enjoy catching redfish by wading in the surf or in shallow, reed-filled water (a favorite of the species), many others prefer to fish from a boat. Trolling is the most effective approach, especially using a flat-bottomed boat. Read on to find out why trolling is a preferred method.