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SEEING RED - REDFIN TIPS

Luke Smith

In recent times I have found myself opting to pass up the local estuary systems, in order to chase the European native species, redfin perch. My first experiences of chasing reddies, as they are more commonly referred to, were from my kayak about five years ago. My boss always talked about them and curiosity got the better of me. I had to see what all the fuss was about. I travelled ten minutes out of town to a local lake, launched the yak, flicked two hard bodies out behind me and I was officially fishing for reddies.

As I gently paddled my way along the weed edge it didn't take long to get my first buckle. When I caught the first glimpse of its red fins lighting up in the morning sun, I was hooked. I never tire of seeing a lit up red fin; the combination of the dark green stripes and bright red fins makes them an attractive fish

Whilst I'm no expert on catching them, I have caught my fair share and over this article I am going to share my knowledge to help you get hooked up. I will concentrate on the lures and their corresponding techniques.

Vibes

Whenever exploring a lake for the first time or a favourite lake after a spell of absence, vibes are my go to lure. They allow me to cover the most water in the shortest period of time, thus allowing me to maximize my fishing time on the water. Being able to make long casts, even into headwinds, is super important as finding the fish is half the battle won.

When working vibes I start off by making a long cast, before allowing the lure to flutter its way to the bottom. Constant attention must be paid as redfin will hit vibes on the drop nine times out of ten and it is not uncommon to make a cast and be hit within a couple of seconds. Once the lure makes contact with the bottom I take up the slack and make a long draw of the rod at a steady speed, then let it fall again. Whilst it is falling I always wind in some line to try and keep almost tight to the vibe. This gives me a better feel as to what is happening at the business end and also keeps me in closer contact in case I need to strike. I then repeat this process for a dozen casts before mixing it up. For this technique I prefer to use the middle hole on top of the lures as I can work the lures reasonably fast but am still able to create a decent amount of vibration.

The next technique I employ utilizes the most rear whole on the vibe and is great at waking up shut down fish. When I have located fish by sounding around I like to sit on top of them and work the area thoroughly by making shorter casts and working the lure a lot slower. This method can be super effective when fishing in deeper water as the fish are not as boat shy. After the lure has rested I make a long and slow draw of the rod so the lure is only just pulsating away then let it drop again. I repeat this process all the way back to the boat and then lift and drop a few more times directly underneath the boat just in case a fish has followed it. Slow and steady is the key with this technique as it is designed to mimic a wounded baitfish and be an easy meal. The TT Lures Ghostblade is perfect for this technique as it hangs in the strike zone for much longer and has a great 'flutter' when falling.

The hole closest to the head is used for my third technique, which I use to excite fish. When fish are feeding, a fast moving lure will quite often out fish anything else. After making a long cast and allowing the vibe to sink, I bring the lure to life with a short sharp rip of the rod tip. When saying short rip, I only move the rod tip about 30 to 50cm. after resting again I might make two small rips before letting it drop down and keeping a close eye on the line. I repeat this process varying the retrieve with up to four rips in the one lift, all the way back to the boat. I don't follow any pattern with the amount of rips or lifts in a retrieve as I try to keep it random like a distressed baitfish.

StreakZ

Over the last month the ZMan 3.75" StreakZ has become my favourite plastic for chasing big reddies. In particular, the Nuked Chicken Glow colour has accounted for many fish over the 40cm mark. Bright and natural baitfish colour patterns are always a good starting point and the trick is to rig them light but with enough weight that they don't take too long to sink. My preferred combo is a Nuked Chicken Glow StreakZ paired with a 1/12oz #1 TT jighead. With this I am able to cast right into the shallows and work the lure back out into 5m of water comfortably. When over 5m deep, a heavier jighead may be needed to keep in constant contact with the bottom.

My technique is pretty simple when working the StreakZ, it involves hopping the lure along the bottom all the way back to the boat. Like with vibes, the redfin will usually always hit the plastics on the drop, so it is important to keep a close eye for any hits. I either make a single or double twitch of the rod to impart a darting action to the lure. This can be done with an upward motion of the rod tip or sideways as well. The trick is to mix it up and remember which method worked when you hook up.

This technique can be employed in most situations, whether it is fishing tight against timber or along a weed lined bank, thus making it very versatile. When working weed edges don't be afraid to give it a really good rip and make it shoot up off the bottom. Doing this excites fish and it also helps to break any light, stringy weed the plastic may have picked up.

Grubs & Slim SwimZ

ZMan 2.5" Grubz and ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ are very versatile lures and can be used in many different applications for many different species. For reddies I have two favourite techniques that I use to get the bites.

The first is my traditional GrubZ technique which is based on keeping the lure on the bottom. I cast the lure out, whether it be tight to timber or drop offs, let it hit the bottom and just sit there for a few seconds before moving it. The action I impart is small twitches with a downward pointing rod tip, this prevents the lure from lifting too high off the bottom. Pauses are important with this technique as it gives the fish a chance to inhale it. Redfin will more often than not engulf the whole plastic, rather than 'hit' it, so don't be in too much of a hurry.

The second technique excites me and is something that I have been experimenting with recently and it has shown good results so far. I expect it to have even better success in the summer months when the fish are on the edges.

First step is to rig the plastics light and weedless. This can be done by using a worm style hook or jighead. To make it even more weedless, bury the hook point into the plastic ever so slightly so that the point is not exposed. I like weights of 1/16oz or 1/24oz, as these allow the plastics to sink but not plummet to the bottom.

When rigged up weedless, make a cast right over the shallow weed beds and allow the lure to fall. Use the rod tip to gently jiggle it along the tops of the weed beds. If you find it is sinking into the weed too much and fouling up, rig it lighter so that the lure rests on top of the weed. Pauses are your friend when working plastics like this. Fish them slow so the lure is in the strike zone for longer. Redfin will use the shallow weed beds around lake edges as cover and so will small minnows and shrimp, making this a great method for tempting those shy fish.

When a fish takes the lure, don't forget to strike and strike hard. The hook point is not exposed with this rigging method so it is important to set the hook when the redfin bites down on the plastic.

Spinners

With redfin being an aggressive predator, a lure that has added flash and vibration may be just what you need to tempt a bite. Working TT Lures Jig Spinners and Rev Head bladed jigheads on a slow day can sometimes be the key to turning your fortunes around.

When fishing with Jig Spinners and Rev Heads, I choose to use a 1/8oz jighead the majority of the time. This is so that there is enough weight to make long casts but more importantly, so there is enough weight that the blades work on the drop. When choosing plastics I like something that will add additional action with minimal movement and this is why I love GrubZ. ZMan 2" GrubZ and 2.5" GrubZ work a treat with spinning blades. The tail beats with minimal effort and compliments the flash of the blades very well. Colour choice is personal but my theory is to rig up bright, loud colours that will stand out just as much as a flashing gold or silver spinning blade.

Through some trial and error I have settled on three retrieves that are effective on redfin when employing spinners. They are three common techniques but are proven with these types of lures. I usually start with a slow rolling retrieve as it is a great way of covering the water quickly. After making a long cast, let the lure drop unimpeded to the bottom, then begin to slowly roll the lure all the way back to the boat. It's that simple! The second is a lift and drop technique, much the same as using a vibe. The last method is the burn and kill. This involves a few fast cranks of the reel (burning), then letting the lure drop back down (killing). This is repeated the whole way back to the boat. This method can and does excite fish when they are being fussy.

Mixing it up

The best part about fishing is that there is no right or wrong way to fish. It all comes down to what works for you and what you enjoy the most. The above methods are my favourites but that does not mean I use them exclusively. Some days you have to try new and different things to get a bite from stubborn, shutdown fish. So don't get stuck doing the same thing for hours, especially when there is fish on the sounder... mix it up!

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017