Updated on September 12, 2022
A while back I got the chance to talk all things redfish with Captain Ryan in Folly Beach, South Carolina. He shared a ton of the insight on gear, tactics, seasonal changes and Improving as an angler. Our conversation was a blast and his knowledge about these fish is incredible. Here’s the Third part of our conversation.
Joseph: Alright, well you already gave me when your favorite time is to fish for redfish but what’s your favorite bait?
Ryan: My favorite artificial bait. Is a local company called Eye Strike Jig Heads. I think they're main name is Trout Eye. I just want to make sure I get this right. So it's the Trout Eye 3/16 oz chartreuse jig head with a Z-man Minnow Z. My favorite color is purple with a chartreuse tail. I'm getting fired up for the fall because I'm about to throw a million of those things.
Joseph: Why is that your favorite bait?
Ryan: Man, I think that 3/16 oz is such a good weight on the rod, especially if you have a light action Rod you can cast it effortlessly into the wind. You can feel it when you're working it. It's enough weight, they make a ¼ oz or I'm not good at math. But the lighter one is hard to feel sometimes on a windy day. Most people recreational fish when the weather's good because why would anyone want to fish when it's bad. But for me for work, I have to fish through all conditions windy not windy whatever. So I find that 3/16 oz, you can always feel it. When you get a heavy wind it'll blow your main line and you lose a lot of sensitivity. I really like the head but I like the Minnow Z It’s a four inch Shad essentially. A lot of people like the paddle tail and I think it's a good size. Not too big, not too small. It's kind of the perfect size. The combination, it’s just right, it’s made for each other. It just has a very organic feel. I do extremely well on any of the patterns of the Z-mans with that jig head like I can work that bait and shallow water and I can work it in deep water.
Joseph: Awesome, that sounds great. What's the worst thing an angler can do when they hook into a big one?
Ryan: I can tell you one of my biggest pet peeves. It might not be the worst thing but I get a lot of inexperienced anglers that will reel as the fish is pulling out line. What happens is the spool and the handle will still spin but they're not gaining any line and it creates line twist. Most recreational Anglers will not really notice this on their rods because they don't fish enough, but my rods get used daily and it happens daily.
Joseph: Definitely. What's the one of the hardest things about being a guide.
Ryan: The lack of education is a problem, you know, they may have read a book that was published 30 years prior and that’s their background. Education was a big thing for me when I got into guiding. I wanted to educate. I've only been a full-time guide for three and a half years, but I've been fishing for redfish since I was four five years old in the same waters. I still fish them now being a local. I've been fishing these fish for a long time.
So education is important to me. When I get on the boat with people, teaching them the right practices is important. I feel like every time I get on the boat, it's my opportunity to instill four hours plus worth of information that they can take away and try to teach the rest of their family and their kids. There is so much information out there today, it's almost too much information. People don't always know how to dissect it properly.
Joseph: Sometimes it’s just too much information.
Ryan: Yes, I could go down that rabbit hole, but anyways
Joseph: What's the biggest redfish you or a client have caught so far?
Ryan: Mmm, I would say the biggest redfish, a client caught, probably the biggest redfish I've been a part of was caught by an eight year old boy. A very seasoned eight year old boy. This kid has grown up fishing the Bahamas and Florida. His dad has the means to be able to take them all over and the kid is a phenomenal phenomenal angler. I think it was like 37 or 38 inches and probably 30 pounds but bear in mind its on light tackle. This is not like the heavy gear you see at the jetty like my brother. He does it all the time and catches like 30 or 40 pound redfish all the time. It wasn’t a 50 pound redfish, but when that fish was caught on 20 pound braid on a medium heavy rod which is super light, light tackle. Maybe in words that doesn't sound like a very big fish.
Joseph: What’s the fight like with a bigger redfish like that? I’ve heard it varies.
Ryan: There's this notion that the bigger the redfish the better it all is and that's certainly true somewhat. When you hook a fish that's really heavy, they'll give you a few good runs. In my opinion, the number one fighting fish is a 20 to 30 inch 15 to 20 pound pound redfish on light tackle. You will not get a better fight than that.