Sleep in if you’re sight-fishing reds

Jonathan Ryan prefers bright sunny days and calm water when sight-fishing summertime reds.

Use trolling motor sparingly for more hookups, angler says

While all the speckled trout anglers bust their tails to get on their favorite spots before the sun comes up, avid fisherman Jonathan Ryan hits snooze a few times on his alarm clock and starts his trips around 8 a.m.

That’s because he does almost nothing but sight-fish reds this time of year.

“You have to prepare yourself because it’s going to be hot,” he said. “The closer you get to that August heat, it starts to burn you up right around 2 o’clock.

“It’s beaming on you.”

If you can get past the heat, the sun can really help you out, according to Ryan.

“Let (the sun) come up enough to where you can utilize the sun to see into the water column,” he said. “About 8:30 to 9 a.m. is typically where I would expect it to be.”

On days when a glaring sun isn’t out, Ryan said anglers can still see the fish, but they have to scan areas more thoroughly.

“If the water is gin clear, you can still see traces of them,” he said. “You can see that shiny bronze color on their fins — especially if you catch them sideways, you can see them pretty well. Say you have calm conditions but it’s cloudy, you can always see their pushes. Because of that depth of water you’re looking for, you can see that movement from them.”

Speaking of depth, Ryan likes ponds that have enough water in them so the redfish can roam around the entire pond.

“Typically, you’ll find a small trench next to the shorelines,” he said. “Once you get into a pond, there’s a main drain, and then there’s a couple of drains or trenches that lead to that main drain. In those trenches, you can utilize your trolling motor and get around some of that grass area because it should be clear in those areas.”

In the shallow ponds, the redfish can be extremely spooky and very sensitive to vibrations in the water. Push-poling around a pond is ideal, but if that’s not an option, Ryan recommended using a trolling motor sparingly.

“My trolling motor speed is a max of 10,” he said. “I’ll go to four, and then start to gain that speed, and once I start to coast, I turn it off. If I need that little extra kick to get moving again, I’ll continue to do that same pattern.”

One final element that’s key when sight-fishing is to find calm water. This makes the fish a whole lot easier to see, Ryan said.

“Wind is the same to golf as it is to fishing, except it’s a lot more difficult for fishing because you’re on the water,” he said. “I want it nice and smooth so I can see every intricate little movement underneath the water column.

“If a tail pokes out slightly, I want to be able to see those things. When you get those high winds, you have to find those shorelines that break the wind so you can get that soft, calm water.”

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About Joel Masson 166 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at

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