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The sight fishing craze has taken off in recent years, and I find myself seeing more media targeted at Bull redfish anglers. Sight fishing adds a different dimension. People often relate sight fishing to hunting as anglers can stalk their prey and chose the redfish they want. Picking out a spotted sea trout is tougher as they flash and crash the water very quickly in a flurry of activity making the water seem to boil with excitement. Add to that the beauty of the grass flats filled with aquatic life and-- bingo-- it's addictive like no other fishing I've ever done.
Fly fishing has also been a hot item for saltwater but apologies to all you fly fishermen out there as I won't be covering your equipment here. This section relates to charter fishing over shallow flats.
Polarized sunglasses are absolutely necessary to sight fish. A good pair of glasses not only enables you to see underwater but keeps your eyes from wearing out looking for redfish.
A decent medium action 7-foot casting rod is recommended for an individual of average build and strength. Making a longer cast allows you to work a school of redfish from a distance without spooking the school. At the very least you need to be able to make 20-yard throws on target in front of your selected fish. Go with something a little shorter for the kids. I don't buy the high-dollar, super-light rods as they break at the tips too easily and can ruin your day. I can't make any recommendations here for casting rods as they break constantly or are too heavy to fish with more than a couple hours. Sure most manufacturers will replace them, but that gets old very quickly. I suggest one-piece, medium-action spinning rods on the lower end of the price scale and bring spares. A redfish will snap rods when it hits tackle close to the boat no matter who makes them.
A solid moderately priced spinning reel such as the Penn Battle 2 model 2000 or the 2500. These reels are designed for braid which is a must have when fishing Dularge, Chauvin, Cocodrie, etc because of the cypress stumps, oyster reefs, and grass beds. Redfish, especially the old bulls, are gonna run straight to cover and bury themselves in it. When hunting spotted sea trout, the temptation is to go ultra light, but big reds are usually patrolling the same area and will rush in to smash your bait then spool you. I rig my clients with 20 to 30 pound braid (aqua green), but you could go with as low as 10 pounds, which allows longer casts with less effort for an experienced angler.
Captain Damien Melancon has been providing safe guided fishing trips since 1993. We specialize in sight fishing trips over shallow grassy flats for redfish and trout. We have a brand new boat for 2018, a 24ft custom Carolina skiff with large casting decks, T-top (to beat the heat), and I-pilot trolling motor. Our tackle is 7ft casting rods equipped with Penn Battle 2’s and 20lb braid. It’s been a great year so far with plenty of redfish action and will only get better as the winds die down in March-April. So far this year we’ve released plenty of heavy slot reds (16 to 27 inches) and been finding quite a few bulls (over 27inches) mixed in. It’s only going to get more intense as the summer settles in. It's going to be a great 2018 so book a charter fishing trip today!