A CHANCE AT TOPWATER AC­TION

Sport Fishing - - GAME PLAN -

When con­di­tions are right, large schools of reds will hang at the sur­face in deep wa­ter. Each cap­tain I spoke with en­coun­tered this be­hav­ior, so it’s not lo­ca­tion spe­cific.

“When an an­gler finds an ag­gre­ga­tion on top, it’s best to pick off fish from out­skirts of the school and try to keep the boat away to avoid putting them down,” says Capt. Tyler Nonn. “Dou­bles and triples are real pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

Nonn will cast large soft plas­tics, such as Hogy Lures, while Hors­ley and Rivers pre­fer to work loud sur­face pop­pers. “As long as the birds aren’t div­ing around the large schools, it’s a blast to watch reds fight over and try to smash your plug,” says Rivers.

One sign that reds are around but not nec­es­sar­ily at the sur­face is the pres­ence of mud balls. “Reds are fa­mous for at­tack­ing schools of bait on the bot­tom dur­ing the spring, and are eas­ily de­tected by the huge muds un­der the bait pods,” says Capt. Kirk Waltz. “Catch a few baits from the edges of these schools, and flip them back into the mud balls for quick hookups.”

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