Please select your home edition

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."

Related Articles

Winter redfish with Captain Jamie Hough
Captain Jamie shares his expert tips on finding and catching Redfish Winter inshore fishing offers great opportunities to catch a wide range of fish, with the Red Drum at the top of most angler's lists. Posted on 16 Feb
Inshore rods and reels for artificial baits
With the bite picking up, using artificials is a great way to cover water and catch fish quickly Spring inshore fishing is one of the best times to get out and capitalize on a great bite. Water temperatures are rising, barring any major cold fronts, the bite will continue to get better and better as April approaches. Posted on 21 Apr 2023
Bow to the Silver King
Get the gear our fleet of Penn captains rely on for tarpon With undeniable strength and a knack for acrobatics, even the most experienced anglers must bow to the Silver King. Posted on 31 Mar 2023
Winter redfish, can you catch them?
Redfish can be a tricky bite in the winter months The hot and heavy bite of the fall slows down as large schools of fish spread out, However, there are still fish to be caught and battles to be had. Posted on 2 Mar 2023
Win an offshore or inshore fishing trip
Once-in-a-lifetime fishing trips, as well as incredible Pure Fishing gear packages This year, Pure Fishing is giving away two amazing fishing trips, complete freshwater and saltwater gear packages, and more! Posted on 27 Oct 2022
PENN 10 Year Reel Warranty - Register now!
The lasting protection we doubt you'll ever need When it comes to manufacturing reels, PENN has developed a renowned reputation for durability and long-lasting performance in the harshest of saltwater environments. Posted on 11 Oct 2022
Meet the all new Penn Authority
Big fish require big stopping power The most refined, highest performing PENN reel ever made. The PENN Authority takes dependability, strength and detail to the next level. Posted on 9 Oct 2022
Huge kingfish in NZ
See authority put to the test! Renowned for some of the toughest saltwater species and roughest terrain, New Zealand's Northland saltwater fishery proved the perfect test ground to push the new Authority range to the limit. Posted on 21 Sep 2022
Meet Penn fleet captain and MasterChef Jamie Hough
Learn how he became not just an accomplished Captain, but a MasterChef as well For some, cooking is just a necessity. For Captain Jamie Hough, it's a way to bring his fishing to life and share it with the people around him. Posted on 10 Sep 2022
Meet the Clash II - the ultimate inshore reel
The Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing ensures protection to critical reel components The PENN® Clash™ II is the ultimate inshore reel armed with our proprietary CNC Gear™ Technology and HT-100™ carbon fiber drag system that offer smooth performance with every fishing trip. Posted on 2 Sep 2022