Legendary angler Bill Dance once said, “Points point to fish.”
While he said that about largemouth bass, the same holds true for saltwater fish.
Many people think of “points” as long, sloping bottom configurations that extend from the shoreline, but points can take many natural and manmade forms. Points could include fallen trees, grass edges, bulkhead corners, docks, rock piles, riprap, or other structures. Anglers may not even see submerged points, such as those around oyster reefs, beach troughs, sandbars, humps, sunken boats, or old barges. Anything making a protrusion or a sharp edge that alters water flow could create an excellent place for redfish to ambush prey.
“A point doesn’t necessarily mean a point of land,” explained Jimmy Dooms, a professional redfish angler who also guides near Corpus Christi, Texas. “Anything in the water that could block normal tidal flow could create a point that makes a good ambush place for hungry redfish. Redfish sometimes chase bait in open water, but normally, they’re ambush predators that wait for bait to come to them. Anything that constitutes a point could make a great ambush place for redfish.”
Current, Wind Help Fishing
Currents from wind or tide whipping around points frequently move baitfish, shrimp, crabs or other morsels. Points constrict and redirect that flow, determining where redfish hide from prey. Although they sometimes hunt on the upstream side, reds usually wait in the slack water behind a point. They look into the current for any delectable tidbits that might flow toward them. When hungry redfish see something they like, they pounce on it. After gulping surprised morsels, the reds return to their protected lairs behind the point to await their next victims.
“Tide is always a major player when fishing for redfish, but tides can help anglers find fish,” explained Shane Dubose, a professional redfish angler from Tomball, Texas. “I always like to fish on the downstream side of a point. Sometimes, an angler might catch a fish or two upstream of the point. A few reds might try to get ahead of the others, but most of the time, the better bite comes at the backside of the point.”
Breaks allowing boats to pass between the rocks or blocks in jetties also create excellent points that might hold redfish. Position the boat on the downstream side of the opening and throw upstream into the break. Off jetty ends, currents whipping around the tips frequently scour holes, good places to drop Carolina rigs baited with live mullets, shrimp or pogies. Big fish might hide in those holes to escape the tide and look upstream for currents to deliver an easy meal.
Broken weedy shorelines also create uncountable small points that often hold redfish. A small ditch draining a marshy pond forms points when it hits the main channel. A falling tide may pull an enormous amount and assortment of forage from these shallow ponds into the main channel. At the channel mouths, redfish frequently gather to wait for the flow to bring them breakfast.
Try a Live or Plastic Shrimp
During a falling tide, fish a live or soft plastic shrimp imitation at these drain mouths. If possible, use no weight or perhaps just a tiny split-shot to improve casting. Allow the bait to flow downstream naturally. Use the reel only to take up slack, but occasionally, pop the lure back to the surface like a natural shrimp washed from the lagoon. Anglers could also drift a live or plastic shrimp under a cork along with the flow.
Non-aggressive redfish lurking around points don’t always attack objects that come near them. Sometimes, anglers need to provoke reaction strikes. A spinnerbait with a big thumping gold Colorado blade or a spoon frequently does the trick. Always throw baits upstream well past the point to avoid spooking fish and work the lures downstream toward and around the point.
“Redfish are very instinctive,” Dubose said. “Even when not actively feeding, they still react to something that gets really close to them. On a calm day or a time with very little current, I throw a reaction bait like a spinnerbait or a gold spoon. Any type of bait with a reflective color might provoke a reaction strike. I usually don’t get many bites during those slack times, but one of those reaction baits might produce a few extra bites at that time than other types of baits.”
Certainly no secret, points can lead to incredible action. When fishing a shoreline, never pass up an opportunity to make an “a point-ment” with big redfish.
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Top Photo: Jen Carroll of Celina, Texas, is all smiles with a redfish she caught while fishing with Capt. Tommy Pellegrin of Custom Charters near Cocodrie, La.