Updated on September 11, 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 second part of our conversation.
Ryan: It can be kind of tricky with braided line these days, like you want braided line, but not a lot of people know how to tie braid to fluorocarbon or monofilament. That's why the Carolina rig is so popular because you just slide an egg sinker on your braided line, tie it to a swivel, and then on the other end of the swivel you tie a fluorocarbon leader with a circle hook. That's the easiest way for most people to do it.
Joseph: Yeah for sure. What kind of knot do you use?
Ryan: You need a uni knot or an FG knot.
Joseph: Having a bad knot is a great way to lose the fish.
Ryan: Yeah, but I think if you talk any sort of gear, for me, I'm very keen on conservation and things like that. I think it's extremely important for people to be using circle hooks with rather short leaders to their egg sinkers for those Carolina rigs. I find a lot of people if you read any literature on circle hooks, you're really only supposed to have the weight just a few inches up.
Redfish have two sets of teeth. They get the front teeth and then they have their crushers in the back of the throat. If they grab your bait, they're gonna eventually start to swallow and hit that second patch of teeth. If you're egg sinker and split shot is really close to that hook, they're gonna feel that weight and they're gonna want to spit it. Typically you will get that nice perfect hookset in the corner of the mouth. I see a lot of inexperienced anglers run an egg sinker with a swivel and a three to six foot leader.
That allows the fish to swallow the leader. You see anglers fishing the jetty where they gut hook those fish. This happens because they're not watching their slack. I see it all the time, you know, they get slack in the line. They're not paying attention and the fish has ample time to chew on that bait and it ends up getting in their crushers or in their throat. The proper way is to cut it out, you know, like cut the line let it rust out but a lot of people sit there and try to yank out it. All it ends up doing is injuring the fish. Just use a circle hook with a six to eight inch leader depending on depth.
When I fish for redfish in creeks and stuff, I run my ten pound braid to anywhere from 15 to 30 pound fluorocarbon and a circle hook. From that circle hook is two to three inches up is a single or a double split shot.
Joseph: That's great. I'm not an expert on redfish by any means, but I take conservation very seriously. I'll definitely include that because tearing up a fish over a hook is pointless..
Ryan: Yeah, actually the shorter leader also keeps your bait or shrimp closer to the bottom in the mud. It makes the more active because it can’t go as far and it kicks up more mud.
Joseph: That’s a good point. I haven't thought of that. That helps you fish more effectively and it's better for the fish.
Ryan: There you go.
Joseph: What do you love the most about fishing for redfish?
Ryan: As a guide, what I like has changed over the years. I like helping new anglers. I have new anglers that have good days, super easy fishing, nothing goes wrong and they enjoy it. When I have new anglers but outside factors play in like docks or oyster beds and they lose their fish, they become a ten times better angler in that millisecond because all the things that they’ve been told come to fruition. They understand and do not make the mistake again. Most it just sets them off like “Oh my gosh, I lost the big one.” Right? and honestly that’s why we continue to always fish. We’re always searching for that next fish. So, my enjoyment these days comes out of that.
Me as an angler I love artificials, I love fly fishing, I love bait, and I find that’s not the case for most guys. You get guys that are only fly fishing or only bait, and they typically don't like the other variations of fishing. For me, I just like doing what works best and enjoy it because that's that's the whole point of it. I like finding the exact moment I need to switch to artificial or the exact moment I can throw a fly. My enjoyment personally comes from a more technical side but from the guide side, I just thoroughly enjoy watching new Anglers learn from their mistakes and become addicted.