A CHANCE AT TOPWATER ACTION
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.”