Reds on docks

Not all docks are created equal, at least not to redfish. Find one that’s in full sunlight, close to shallow and deep water, and with moving water, and you’re in the right spot.
Not all docks are created equal, at least not to redfish. Find one that’s in full sunlight, close to shallow and deep water, and with moving water, and you’re in the right spot.

Tips for going under their cover

Anglers know redfish love to hang around boat docks, especially so in the winter.

Guide Addison Rupert said if you can find a dock that has four key factors, you’re likely to find redfish there.

Rupert looks for docks that are in full sunlight, with shallow water nearby, deep water nearby and running water nearby. If he checks a dock that has all those ingredients, but doesn’t find reds, he will move to the nearest dock. It doesn’t take long to find the reds, he said.

“If you find a good dock that’s in the sunlight (that) has both shallow water and deeper water nearby, you’ll find redfish this time of year,” he said. “Once you find fish under a dock, you need to keep your distance. The water is crystal clear this time of year, and these fish are wary. They won’t tolerate you getting too close.”

Don’t spook them

Once you find a school around a dock, Rupert pays close attention to the direction the fish are facing; they want to see baits coming from that direction. If you make a cast that requires you to bring a lure from behind them, it’s going to spook them. And Rupert won’t cast into the middle of these fish — he doesn’t even like to cast under the dock.

“Getting that lure to land just on the outskirts of the dock is the best approach. They will come out and get it as long as it is close enough, but not too close,” said Rupert.

Rupert lowers his Power Pole while he’s still a good, long cast from the structure.

“You want it to take a good, strong cast to reach it. If it’s too easy to cast there, you’re too close,” he said.

Rupert will use anywhere from a 1/16-ounce jighead on up to 1/4-ounce, depending on conditions. He will use a variety of Gulp lures, from shrimp to minnows and crabs.

“Some days, they are more particular than others, but usually this time of year, if they are biting, they aren’t too picky about whether it’s a shrimp or mullet,” he said.

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