By Joshua Davey
As the days become shorter and colder, our selection of desirable target species somewhat thins out in the southern part of our country. But don’t let that deter you.
Winter can be a host to some of the best fishing sessions, particularly when it comes to freshwater angling. Redfin perch are an aggressive and plentiful target over winter, not to mention stunning to look at and not too bad on the plate either. So what are you waiting for?
Redfin perch are prolific breeders and when it comes to finding areas to target, it can be as simple as finding an area that has a year-round water supply (i.e. doesn’t dry up over summer). I can tell you right now that some of my very best redfin sessions have been in small roadside ponds and wetlands that most people would never consider to hold fish, plus exploring can be half of the fun. With this being said I have found that the best locations have either very slow flowing water, such as deep pools and back eddies or creeks or better yet, dams and reservoirs. Redfin are considered to be a noxious pest, so check your local rules and regulations prior to heading out.
Redfin can at times be very spirited fighters, however your typical light tackle bream rod such as the Infeet range, paired with a light 1000-2500 sized reel will do the job nicely. Light braid between 6 and 10 lb, with a 4-10 lb leader is ideal. I personally use a 2000S Freams LT spooled with 6 lb J-Braid Grand and it suits the situation nicely.
Luckily for us, redfin are voracious predators and are willing to eat a variety of lures.
But with this said, there are better suited techniques to catch them than others. Redfin will typically move shallower over winter making them more accessible to anglers, particularly in larger bodies of water such as reservoirs. I have found that the majority of the time these fish are hard on the bottom, and I mean literally using their pectoral fins to rest on the bottom. So the key is to get that lure as close to the bottom as possible at all times. For this reason I primarily use soft plastics, vibes or chatterbaits/football jigs. This is in addition to redfin responding incredibly well to vibrations through the water column, making all these lure options ideal. Work them slowly and methodically through likely looking areas, with pauses up to 10 seconds in length. Wait for the tick in the line and set that hook!
Soft plastics are versatile and a great option for beginners or experienced anglers exploring new water or fishing creeks/snaggy areas. I typically throw the Bait Junkie 2.5 “ Grubs and Minnows, weighted appropriately to suit your conditions. The bonus is that when fishing in creeks or around snags you can rig them in a weedless fashion to help reduce lost lures.
In deeper, slow moving water blades/vibes such as the Steez metal Vibe in the 5 gram model will more often than not be the first lure I tie on. Redfin respond incredibly well to the vibration and presence of these lures. Their weight is fantastic for covering lots of ground, particularly for landbased anglers, with the addition of their fast sink rate keeping the lure deep in the strike zone.
More recently I have been experimenting with the Steez Cover Chatter and when paired with a 3.2” Bait Junkie Minnow it has been a deadly big fish catcher. As is the case with many redfin fisheries around the country, many of them are plagued with hordes of small fish which makes it very difficult to get your lures to the larger reddies. The Steez Cover Chatter has been my solution to this problem, throwing the 3/8 oz model to get it down deep quickly, with slow drags to get the blade working, followed by a long pause. This has weeded out many of those smaller fish, but boy do those big fish wallop them!
Anyway, there is a brief insight into the world of redfin fishing. Make the most of winter and don’t let the cold weather scare you away, there is plenty of good fishing to be had!
If you have any more questions regarding this article or chasing redfin, please feel free to send me a message through Instagram on @joshsfishingobsession.