Because Capt. Ed Hix may have to wade through the redfish before tying into a trout, his bait choices favor durability over color or size. "Redfish tend to destroy soft-plastics," he says, "while hard baits allow me to continue casting without stopping. These fish tend to be on the move, and the less downtime I have replacing lures, the better." Aware of the redfish's tackle-busting prowess, he prefers hard-plastic topwaters and suspended lures rather than soft-plastics.
Use lures such as ThunderSticks and Slap-Sticks, as well as chrome Mirr-Olure She Dogs. Rapala's X-Raps will also survive the rigors of bruising redfish strikes. Keep multiple setups and fresh lures handy to maximize your time when chasing schools.
Rods: 7-foot medium-action spinning and baitcasting rods.
Reels: Sized to match rods.
Lines: 8- to 16-pound mono with 60-pound fluoro leaders.
Lures: ThunderSticks, Slap-Sticks, MirrOlure She Dogs, Rapala X-Raps, Storm Rattlin' Chug Bugs, B&L Corkies and MirrOlure Catch 2000s.
Jerry Ferguson, a marine biologistfor the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, says: "Redfish generally begin to move offshore when they reach 4 years of age or 8 to 10 pounds. Prior to that, they feed on just about everything inshore, from crabs, menhaden and shrimp to mullet." Regardless of the fact that seatrout and redfish are from the same family of drum, once trout reach a certain size, their eating habits begin to differ from redfish. "Once trout reach 4 pounds, their diets move more toward an all-fish diet of mullet and menhaden - they especially like mullet," says Ferguson. "Schools of redfish will disrupt schools of mullet, creating a feeding advantage for trophy-trout anglers." Both Ed Hix and Steve Jones agree that once a school has been located, anglers need to determine which species they've hooked and try to fight it accordingly. Hix explains: "Trophy trout and redfish strikes are similar, but trout tend to surface more readily, with shorter bursts, while redfish tend to make steady, protracted runs. Once you determine species, get redfish in quickly for release while backing off drags to carefully coax trophy-size specks into the release well."
WHAT: Trophy seatrout.
WHEN: Under and around schoolsof redfish.
WHERE: Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
WHO: The guides listed below specialize in finding large trout with redfish.
Texas and Louisiana:
Capt. Bruce Baugh
Capt. Guy Stansel
337-762-3391, 337-762-3791 (cell)
Florida and Alabama:
Capt. Steve Jones
850-457-4106, 850-380-4101 (cell)