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redfish live bait william toney in the spread
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Redfish Live Bait | William Toney

The options for redfish live bait vary by region, but within each region you will have very specific baits that are highly effective for catching reds. As you move along the Gulf coast from Texas down around Florida and back up to the Carolinas and beyond, the ocean environment changes and thus the bait fish along with it. For this In The Spread fishing video, we will be concentrating in Florida on the area north of Tampa up to St. Marks in the panhandle. The inshore fishing and in particular the redfish fishing along this stretch of Gulf coast is super productive. Most of the fishing occurs around mangroves and outside keys, for context. One of the fishermen we have worked with a lot and one that runs a finely tuned operation is Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing.

We have filmed several redfish videos with William and if you have watched any of them, you know how simple he makes catching redfish look. His teaching demeanor exudes confidence and if you follow his tactics and techniques, you will carry that same confidence with you when you hit the water. Redfish live bait fishing is probably the most effective way to catch your limit. Redfish cannot resist a good live bait. Knowing which live bait to use, how to procure them and the best live bait rig for redfish is what Capt. William Toney is going to explore in this In The Spread fishing video.

Let's take a look at what your will learn about in this redfish live bait video. We will examine the best bait for redfish for the region, which happen to be live pinfish, live shrimp and live mud minnows. You will see how to catch bait using traps, along with hook and line. Purchasing bait is another way the get bait and we profile a local purveyor. One of the best redfish fishing tips that William shares is catch the bait where you are fishing. That will be what the redfish are eating and native to the area. In other places threadfin herring and cigar minnows are widely used, but for this redfish video we are focusing on pinfish, shrimp and mud minnows. We will put more emphasis on the pinfish, since that is what you find where the red drum are more times than not. After a thorough discussion on the best baits for redfish, William will take your through trapping bait, catching bait and redfish rigs for live bait. You will see in detail how to make the live bait rig for redfish using each of the three baits. This is all easy to learn and apply. William is a great instructor, so let's go.

Depending on your redfish live bait needs, using a trap to catch pinfish is a great way to quantity of bait. You can fill your bait well by just placing a few traps. One thing you will want to be cautious of when setting your traps are robbers. Never underestimate the depths other fishermen will sink to when it comes to stealing bait. Your hard work could be someone else's pay day. William will show you methods for using buoys that do not stand out, as well as ways to sink them below the surface, so only you will be able to find it later. He will cover the type of bait to put in your trap and where to set them out. You do not want to place traps in water that is too deep or you will not be able to retrieve them when the tide rises. Pinfish are found in rather defined areas, so you want to be in their territory to catch them. This is a quick way to get a good haul of bait. In this redfish live bait video, you will see that we only left our trap out for about an hour and a half. When we returned, it had well more than we would need for a morning of fishing. If you leave them overnight, they will be loaded in the morning.

Another great way to procure pinfish is to catch them with hook and line. In and around most of the mangroves and outside keys you will be fishing, where there's a population of redfish, there will be pinfish. They like the same areas. So, catching them is rather easy. Have a spare rod on board rigged to catch bait. William will cover the rig for catching bait. You will see the leader, hook and the type of bait that pinfish cannot refuse. Cast nets are also a useful tool for catching pinfish. In other areas, a sabiki rig is the go to method.

The other two excellent options for redfish bait are the live shrimp and live mud minnows. Live shrimp is super easy to obtain. Most bait houses will have them in supply. They are easy to keep alive for a day of fishing. You can keep them in a plastic bag places in a small bucket out of the sun. You can also put them in between damp news print and store them in your cooler. Be sure to keep them off the ice. Basically, shrimp are easy to store. Mud minnows are an often overlooked, but outstanding bait choice. They are super hardy. You can fish one for long periods or until it gets eaten. Mud minnows are perhaps a little more difficult to catch than pinfish, but if you know where to look, they are plentiful. You can use the same bait and bait rig as you use for pinfish to catch them. Traps are also a good option.

When it comes to the rigging of the bait, William Toney will walk you through each of the redfish rigs for live bait that he uses. He will discuss the leader material, how much you should use and the hooks. For rigging live shrimp, William will show you both the head and tail rigs. You will see precisely how to hook live shrimp and not kill it. The tail hooking method is better for casting and one of his go to bait rigs for both redfish and snook. The rigging pinfish methods he will show cover back hooking and nose hooking. Hook placement in the back is critical. You will see how to do it the right way. Placing the hook in the back of the pinfish allows for much greater mobility. Rigging mud minnows is very similar to the way you rig pinfish in the back. These rascals are strong swimmers and will head straight to cover, where the redfish lay up. This makes them excellent choices for free lining baits into cover.

If redfish live bait rigs are something that you are interested in learning more about, Capt. William Toney has some superb fishing tactics and techniques for you. He is one of the very best inshore fishing guides in Florida and redfish is a species that he is intimately familiar with. We hope this and all of our redfish videos help you gain more confidence and ultimately catch more fish. Keep learning and fish smarter.

Check out our library of redfish fishing videos.

Total time: 51:42
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