TIP: Tactics for Tails
This Team TTF tip comes from Charlie Barton. He shares his in-depth tactics for coaxing bites out of tailing fish. Check it out!
If you’ve ever seen a tailing redfish, you know it’s an awesome feeling when you see that big, bronze tail waving silently above the water’s surface. The first thing you do is start licking your chops, thinking “easy prey”. Not so fast. You still have to understand what the fish is doing and what type of presentation will yield the best results.
Redfish use their nose like a shovel to sift shrimp and crabs out of the silty bottom. Sometimes they get so focused on their next meal they stand on their heads in an almost vertical position with their tails high in the water. In many cases, a part of the tail is actually sticking out of the water. So now we know “tailing” is basically just another word for feeding.
So what’s the best way to catch a tailing fish?
First things first - I like to use an 1/8-ounce TTF Weed Killer jighead with a Madre ST or Bone Catcher Killer Flats Minnow. The TTF Weed Killer jighead makes fishing simple. You don’t have to worry about grass, rocks, oysters, or any other type of obstruction you’d usually snag with an open hook. Not to mention, you can stop your lure at any time under any condition without concern of getting hung up, and this is a very important aspect of sight-fishing.
As for the KFM, what can I say? They are perfect for sight casting - small for a silent presentation, plenty of tail action and they cast well - those are all attributes you want in a good sight-fishing bait. As for color, confidence will have more of an impact on your fishing than color will. Whatever color you think will catch fish - use it.
Your lure needs to enter the water as quietly as possible. A loud splash can (and usually does) spook the fish. Practice a gentle entry on your casting technique. You’ll find it’s easier to control the lure’s entry with a side-armed cast than overhead.
I like to cast a minimum of 3 feet past the fish and slowly bring the lure in front of it. Remember, the fish is feeding, so you’re trying to make the fish think he stimulated the bait to move by rooting on the bottom. If you can fool that fish into believing it made your bait move, you will get bit. Nothing will get a redfish more riled up than seeing a “fleeing” bait inches in front of its nose.
Remember, the bait never attacks the fish; the fish always attacks the bait. NEVER swim your lure directly at the fish.
Keep it simple. Keep it fun!