By Sonny Mills
While trying to locate redfish in shallow water, the eyes in your head are the most important tools on your kayak. It's no secret that with each passing year, new gadgets and electronics come out that can assist you in your quest to become a better angler. However, despite everything these fancy toys are capable of, they lack the ability to see what's right in front of you. Once you understand what to look for, you can properly train your eyes to locate fish without even thinking about it.
One of the more important things is to always keep your head on a swivel. By that, I mean you should be constantly looking at the water around you for signs of fish. On some days, these signs will be so obvious; they will be impossible for any angler to miss. Several birds hovering a few feet above a large school or a dozen finger mullet flying out of the water are two examples that are easy to spot. However, it's the ability to spot the smaller, less obvious signs that can be the difference between catching a couple of fish, or having a double-digit day.
A subtle sign like twitching grass is a great way to locate redfish as they search for food near the shoreline. Redfish love to weave their way through these endless mazes of shrubbery during a high tide while looking for shrimp, crabs, baitfish, or other creatures that are hoping to seek shelter from predators. As the redfish navigate their way through the grass, they will bump into the blades, causing them to move in a way that the wind never will.
Mud boils are difficult to notice, but are a definite sign that redfish are around. These small clouds of smoke appear in the water when redfish abruptly flee an area, most likely from being spooked as you paddle near them. One cloud of mud is not normally enough to make me stop. However, if I see multiple clouds appear within a short distance of one another, I will immediately plant my stakeout stick and fan cast the area for several minutes. If a few fish are around, chances are, there are plenty more nearby.
A single fleeing shrimp is something I always keep a sharp eye out for as I paddle around. Since they are rather small, they can be difficult to spot. However, if a shrimp leaves the water, you can almost guarantee that it is running from something. Making a quick and accurate cast in the direction the shrimp is heading is a great way to catch fish that are actively feeding.
There are a dozen other ways that redfish will give themselves away, and with enough time, you can train your eyes to recognize them all. While some are impossible to miss, others require an eye for the less obvious. However, once you get it all figured out, the end result is more fish in the kayak.