• 73°

Jetty’s hot for bull reds

The Sabine and Cameron Jetties are red hot right now for big bull redfish.
The best fishing is on incoming tides when an influx of salty water from the Gulf makes its way back to the rocks and the best action is on the Gulf side of the jetties.
One of the mosts productive spots is at the very southern tip on both the Texas and Louisiana side of the rocks at Sabine Pass. The southern tip of the west side of the Cameron Jetties also gives up a lot of reds as well.
These spots are super current laden and if you take the time to check them out with your electronics, you will see all kinds of fascinating structures to fish.
The first thing to consider is that the rocks you see on top are only 1/3 of what is on the bottom and at any jetty, there is usually even more rocks at the very end. These last few rocks are great spot to throw big gold spoons and let them flutter toward the bottom or work over with a crankbait.
Another thing you will notice is how there is usually a large hole washed out coming from the tip along the edge of the rocks along the Gulf side. These deep holes are great spots to catch super-sized bull redfish in excess of 40 inches. Since redfish have been banned from commercial harvest, the big breeders have really built up a large population and they tend to gather in these deep holes.
There are many ways to catch these monster reds, but a large live bait is best.
Croaker is by far the best because it not only gives the reds something they can smell and see but something they can hear. A croaker anywhere from six to 12-inches is perfect and should be fished on the bottom.
I always bring along a trout red rigged with shrimp to catch croaker but we usually end up starting off with mullet because we can catch it in castanets or if necessary buy at the store. It is rare for anyone locally to have croaked for sale.
It is important to use a circle hook or one of the offset circle-type hooks. They are designed to set in the corner of a fish’s mouth, which will allow you to release fish you wish not to keep, and it increases the hook set to land ratio greatly. When using these types of hooks you do not have to set the hook. Once the fish makes a heavy run, all you have to do is pick up the rod, gently raise the tip and start reeling.
Angler Marcus Heflin of Christian Surf Fishing Adventures said the bull redfish is the most underrated fish on the Texas coast.
“We can take someone and give them minimal instruction with the right equipment and easily put them on fish bigger than most people in our country every catch. It is not difficult to catch redfish in the 20-30 pound class from our jetty systems as well as our beaches,” Heflin said.
While bull redfish definitely stay around jetties they are also getting pretty thick in the surf.
“I have been amazed at the joy catching these big fish bring to anglers. We have people from all walks of life coming out to our events and some have never caught a fish much less a bull red. We have a wonderful resource right here in Texas that is easy to access,” Heflin said.
Bull reds are not the only thing biting though.
There have been a fair amount of sharks swimming around the jetties and the short rigs and they should be present through the end of the month.
If you want to target sharks you can do so by taking a can of jack mackerel (available at grocery stores) and punch holes in and put it in a lingerie washing bag or fish basket tied off to the boat. It will not take long to create a massive (but environmentally safe) oil slick.
Large circle hooks rigged on steel leaders are the most popular terminal tackle for bagging sharks. Sharks cannot only cut a line with their teeth but also with their skin, which is sharp in its own right. One quick slap of the tail can cut even heavy-duty line with no problem.
For targeting blacktips and spinners, my personal favorite chumming method involves bringing along a bucketful of small menhaden, grabbing a handful and squeezing. Some of them will float, others will sink quickly and others slowly.
This creates a feeding frenzy situation with sharks that can allow you to sight cast to them with cut bait. The ideal setup for this kind of fishing is having one bait on the bottom for species like bull sharks and Atlantic sharpnose and a couple of free lines to get the species that feed in the upper level of the water column like blacktips.
This is sort of our last hurrah for big fish action nearshore for awhile. Our focus is about to switch solely on Sabine Lake and Calcasieu with the fall trout under the birds and flounder and reds in the marsh.
If you want some serious rod-bending action consider a jetty trip our maybe do some surf fishing.
Marcus Heflin teaches free surf fishing clinics periodically at Sea Rim State Park. For more information call 409-659-9437.
He is a master of catching big reds and sharks in our local waters and has helped many anglers hook into the fish of their dreams.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.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.)