Updated on September 2, 2022
A while back I got the chance to talk all things redfish with Captain Alan in Rockport, Texas. He shared a ton of the insight he has gained over the years targeting redfish on the Texas Coast. Our conversation was a blast and his knowledge about these fish is incredible. Here’s the second part of our conversation.
Joseph: With these big predatory fish do they just sit and wait for easy meals to come by?
Alan: Yeah, they're lazy. I mean, they're like a big black drum. They just kind of roll around I mean they don't pull hard but that they're not they're not quick. They're not gaming, you know, they're just there. Once you start getting them over like 32 to 33 inches, that's when they're just like big logs. I mean they don't get that big work that big on accident, they're kind of smart.
Joseph: So a balance of output and input?
Alan: Exactly, It's all economics.
Joseph: When's your favorite time to target redfish?
Alan: Anytime I mean, I had a trip yesterday and I got a trip I just picked up with you guys for tomorrow. I'm booked Saturday and Sunday so I hardly ever fish for myself. Basically fishing for redfish is year round here[in Rockport], but the big ones come in to spawn in the fall. If I do, I have a buddy of mine that’s a guide and he knows how to pole but he's not a fly fisherman. We push each other around every once in a while, but it’s few and far between now which is good because business is good. You know I have fun when I'm on the boat anyway, but actually fishing, I don't do a whole lot of that anymore.
Joseph: What does somebody who's just getting started targeting redfish do wrong?
Alan: I think a lot of times people will think they're in a really good spot but they're not catching fish and they stay there too long because it looks fishy. I mean, it's a great looking spot, you know there ought to be fish here. Well, yeah there ought to be, but they're not.
It's probably the major mistake I would say because I'm guilty of it. I'm the most patient person on the freaking planet. I will stick around in a spot where I probably shouldn't for too long.
Joseph: Yeah, sometimes a spot just doesn’t hold fish. What's your favorite lure or bait?
Alan: For top water it’s a bone colored badonk-a-donk because I've had two redfish eat it at the same time. On soft plastics, I've been fishing a lot lately with a white bass assassin with an eighth ounce jig head. They sink a little slower and stay off the bottom a little better. Then on flies, I can't tell you how many fish I've caught redfish have caught on a chartreuse and white clouser minnow. It’s a pretty common fly, but with bead eyes. I don't think it sinks as fast. I’ve probably caught 90% of the fish I've ever caught on a fly on one of those. In fact, I'm looking at a fly rod right now with one of those tied on.
Joseph: Wow that’s great, very specific. What's the worst thing an angler can do when they get hooked into a big fish.
Alan: Pulling too hard probably. Sometimes you gotta let 'em go, especially if you’re not around structure or anything where they’re going to get wrapped around something. Just let them run. Put some tension on, you always have to keep tension on them, but let them run. I’ve got 10 pound tippet on my fly rods so it’s fairly easy to break them off.
Joseph: Absolutely, line control is crucial.
Joseph: What's the biggest redfish you’ve caught so far?
Alan: oh, probably right around 36 inches, I was I was fishing around on a shoreline. It was right outside of the Jetties. I was by myself and it was a perfect day. The wind was going straight out of the Southwest which it needs to be on that Shoreline. I could fish it by myself because I was just drifting. I didn't actually see em because he was on the edge where it drops off. It’s flat and then it drops off real steep because they dredge it for barges. I was up on the flat fishing the grass line and I wasn't seeing any fish. Then I thought, I should just chuck something over here on the drop to see if anything's over there. I was fishing a soft plastic and I don't remember what color it was but I just dropped it off the side and boom.
Joseph: That’s perfect, what a perfect day. What's the most painful?
Alan: Let's see. I was fly fishing last year and I hooked into a good fish. I broke him off because I was being stupid. I was not following my own advice and tried to force him.
Joseph: For somebody like me who’s still got a lot to learn it's reassuring to hear that even the experts. make mistakes.
Alan: Well, yeah! I don't know how many times I’ve hooked myself in the back of the head fly fishing. Hahaha and I can’t count how many of my customers have got me. That's why I crimp the barbs down on all my flies, even the ones that I use because I don't like digging them out with a barb.
Joseph: Hahaha that’s my number one concern when im fly fishing. I can only imagine how many times guides get whipped and hooked.
Alan: Yeah, and if you have a fly with lead dumbbell eyes. They're heavier and even if it doesn't get you it hits you in the back of the head or the neck or something it still hurts because I don't know how much speed the flies generate. You're slinging them around with a nine foot fly Rod. They're traveling pretty fast.
Joseph: Yeah, that's wild. Personally when you go out on your own do you prefer to fly fish.
Alan: Yeah, the only reason why I don't take a fly rod is because it’s too windy. For me too windy is probably 12, 13, 14, knots or more. I'm can pretty much negotiate casting in that but most customers can’t negotiate casting in that. If it's too windy, then I'm gonna only take conventional tackle. The way I look at it, I think these fish see a lot of bait, shrimp, lures, and they get smart.
They go, I don't know if I'm gonna eat that or not because I think I've seen that before but they don't see a lot of flies. I think if you stick a fly in front of them if you stuck a soft plastic forever redfish, and he didn't want to eat it. He would eat it. I think if you stuck a soft plastic in front of a redfish and they don't eat it ,I think the same fish would eat the fly because he hadn't seen it before. Is that making sense?
Joseph: Yeah, absolutely. It's like just fishing pressure. They see a lot of the same stuff and they learn. Well, I think as far as redfish go, that’s all the questions I have. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me.
Alan: Absolutely, I hope I helped.