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November 12, 2011

Buoys overlooked redfish habitat

Chester Moore Jr. column for Nov. 13, 2011

ORANGE — Some of the best redfish habitat gets passed by anglers on every fishing trip. I am talking about marker buoys.

There are thousands of marker buoys and barnacle encrusted channel marker poles in the canal and they hold redfish year-round.

These poles make up their own mini ecosystems in much the same way oil and gas platforms do offshore. They are obviously not a pronounced as rigs, but they do draw in fish.

The first thing you need to do is check to see if the poles have many barnacles on them. Those spots are good ones to fish because they are likely to draw in lots of baitfish and crustaceans, which reds of course dine on.

In addition, the ones located near shorelines with shell are great places to fish. The markers typically designate where the channel and shallows meet, so setting up between the shell along the shore and the marker puts an angler in a great position.

Chunk one line in the shallows and another in the deep and there is a very good chance will score on redfish.

“Vertical Trapping” is a method I am experimenting with in such areas. It involves using a Rat-L-Trap or similar lipless crankbait and dropping it down over deep holes and simply reeling it up.

This is something anglers use for smallmouth bass in channels along the Great Lakes and I am experimenting with it for redfish and other coastal predators in Gulf Coast waters.

What is appealing about this method is that it allows for targeting various depths of the water column. If you do not have electronics and have no means of telling where the fish are this can allow you to hit all areas of the column with a lure that mimics what they are feeding on this time of year and one that is hard to ignore.

Reds are not feeding as aggressively this time of year as they do once the water warms up. The same goes for practically every other species.

Sometimes getting them to bite requires making them angry or being loud and intrusive to get their attention and to get them on the end of your hook.

No matter where you fish it is always important to play the tides. Tidal movements are what push the bite button coastal-dwelling fish.

For anglers fishing the Intracoastal, remember that straight, narrow canals have a faster moving tide than do wide, shallow areas like bays. With this in mind, watch your tide charts and look for the strongest moving tides to produce the best bites.       

If you are fishing areas of the Intracoastal very close to the coast, it will not take a huge tide to get good moving water. A tide is like wave in that it weakens the farther you move inland. So, the rule is that the bigger the tide the better the bite will be farther inland.

Big tides will also produce nearer the Gulf, but you do not have to have a two-foot tide to get results. A six-incher might be enough to get the job done, whereas if you fish on that small 10 miles inland you might see virtually no movement at all and consequently little fish action.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@yahoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)

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