Slot reds take over as guide’s No. 1 targets
Guide Pete Miller of Rodbenders Charters said he’ll continue targeting bull reds until Labor Day, then switch gears and target slot reds in the Mississippi River system.
“In July and August, we focus almost exclusively on catching bull reds out of Venice,” said Miller (225-921-9457). “Customers come to Venice from all over to catch the biggest redfish of their lives, and we have a blast putting them on the big, bronze rod-benders.
“That’s our usual game plan every year until Labor Day. This year, Labor Day is Sept. 7, a bit later than usual, so that’s when we’ll switch from hunting bull reds to hunting slot-sized reds, fish up to 27 inches, in the river. The bulls get scarcer by then, and we always hope the river will fall, which brings saltier water into the branches and those slot-sized redfish along with it.
“The last couple years, the river stayed exceptionally high, but this year, we have a low river, which means the reds will move all the way up into the river system, and we (will) catch them in all the passes and the spillways.”
Miller said September is not a great trout month in Venice.
“I consider September a transition month for trout, which makes it tougher to find fish consistently” he said. “Our best months for trout come just a little later, in October and November, so I generally encourage our trout customers to wait until then to chase specks. But if they really want to go in September, I’ll make the run out to the barrier islands — Breton Island, Gosier and Little Gosier, Curlew and Freemason — and typically catch specks and reds and toothy critters like Spanish and sharks, and the acrobatic banana fish, occasional jacks and just a myriad of other stuff. It’s a bit of a long haul and you need a decent day to make the run.”
Miller said if present conditions continue — if the tropics stay quiet and the river stays low or falls further — the entire river system will be ripe with redfish: in all the passes, along the rock jetties at the end of the passes and in the spillways.
“The river is low, the water is green and the reds are already moving in,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic month.”
Best baits: market shrimp fished 18 to 24 inches under a High Water popping cork, or Matrix Shad soft plastics in lemonhead, LSU or green hornet colors, he said.
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