By Michael Harris
So you’ve pulled up to your favorite flat, the wind is howling, the water level is high and off color, and the skies are cloudy. Your chances of sight-casting to skinny-water redfish are slim to none. Don’t let less than ideal conditions throw you off your game. Grab your drift sock and a topwater lure and start covering water till you locate fish.
A drift sock can be your most valuable tool when trying to cover water in high winds. The drift sock slows you down, allowing you to thoroughly cover water and properly work your topwater lure. I like to rig my drift sock with about three feet of anchor line and attach it to my anchor trolley. Using an anchor trolley allows kayakers to position the boat for optimal casting without having multiple anchor cleats. Once you’ve positioned your kayak for the perfect drift and thrown out your drift sock, start grinding away with your favorite topwater. With high winds I like to use a lure that has a high pitch such as a Rapala Skitter Walk or a MirrOlure She Pup. The trick is to keep moving and cover as much water as possible by fan-casting. If you get a hookup or blowup, it’s a good idea to anchor and spend some time in the area. If the area stops producing after about 15 minutes, pull your anchor and start drifting again.
I like to use a nonslip loop knot to attach my topwater to my line. This gives the lure a lot of action when walking the dog. If you’re new to throwing topwater lures, be sure to wait to feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook when you get a blowup. If you try to set the hook when you see the blowup, you’ll often pull the lure away from the fish. You’ve got a couple of options if you get a strike but don’t hook up. You can continue walking the dog and see if the fish comes back for it. If this doesn’t produce, pause for a second, give it a few twitches and pause again. If the fish is still interested, it will usually hit on the pause.
Sight casting is by far my favorite way to catch redfish, but when conditions are tough, throw on a topwater and go to work. Redfish blasting topwaters will definitely get your heart pumping.