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How it's done: Redfish bites with Captain Jot Owens

by Penn Fishing 8 Jun 17:51 UTC
Captain Jot Owens © Penn Fishing

Redfish and May go hand and hand, this month is a favorite for casting artificial lures to reds. Redfish really start to settle down in their summer spots by early/mid-May.

Captain Jot Owens, located in the Wrightsville Beach, NC area has been putting his clients on the hot Redfish bite for many years. In this interview with PENN Jot shares some of his best tips to locate and catch one of our favorite gamefish - the big reds!

Why the bite is good

As late spring to early summer transition takes place, the inshore waters warm bringing the bait and fish in from their deeper, nearshore haunts. Captain Jot looks specifically at the water temp as a key indicator that the bite is starting

"I prefer inshore water temps of 70 degrees or higher for the shallow water bite to start."

How to fish the redfish

When Capt Jot hits the water there are a few key spots to key in on to find the Redfish. Most important being finding the Oyster rocks in the area. Redfish and oysters go hand and hand, though the fish may not be right on top of the oyster rocks they will be in the close vicinity as bait such as crabs, fish, and shrimp use the oyster rocks for cover. Oyster rocks around a depth break will be the most productive as fish have access to shallow water during high tide and can slide out as the tide drops.

The reds bit all day

Early in the morning Redfish will push up to the shallow grass lines, this is a great opportunity to target the fish with walk-the-dog style topwater baits, one of Captain Jot's favorite ways to catch them.

As tide drops or high tide with sunny conditions, switching to a swimbait just under the surface can make a huge difference (2-4ft). Once the sun is high the fish can have a hard time keying in on topwater baits, making the swimbait more productive. Capt Jot's key tips when using a swimbait is to match the color of the bait to the water, dark baits in dark water - lighter colored baits in clearer and light water.

When using a swimbait for redfish Capt Jot recommends low and slow. Hold the rod tip on the water and keep a consistent retrieve, no jerking or jigging the bait back.

On a low tide, fish tend to go around docks and channels. In the deeper water Capt Jot uses a Gulp! Shrimp or Paddle Shad. The key presentation is to jig these baits around docks, making sure to let it hit bottom before jigging again (Hit on the fall).

Rigging set-ups

Swimbaits rigging
"I like the new Berkley Powerbait CullShad in 5" in colors Cold Beer, Silver Flash and Dark Night (stained waters) fishing shallow waters of one to five foot. I rig the CullShad on 1/8oz & 1/4oz swimbait hooks."

Shrimp rigging
"Casting Berkley Gulp shrimp in three-inch size or new Gulp paddle-shad on light jig heads (1/16oz - 1/4oz) is my go-to lures for May redfish. My go to colors are pearl white, sugar spice glow, new penny, sangria, and black/gold."

Live bait works too!
"If you would rather go the bait route; try some fresh cut or live Mullet or Menhaden on a light Carolina rig. Using 1/0 hooks to make up a Carolina rig. Try fishing fresh cut bait around docks on the ICW or along creek mouths when the tide is moving, in five to ten feet of water."

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