Bass Tackle For Redfish?

Using standard bass tackle for redfish in Louisiana while filming Sweetwater TV

Using standard bass tackle for redfish in Louisiana while filming Sweetwater TV

Question-

Name: Gary Groeteke
Email Address: Ggroeteke@gmail.com
Subject: Red fish
Message: Can I use quality bass fishing equipment to fish for red fish?
(Sent via Saltwater Experience Fishing Blog)

 

Answer-

Hey Gary,

Great question.  The quick and easy answer is yes you can. 

Here are a few more details:

Most bass tackle will work just fine for redfish.  Alot of redfish situations are found in brackish water, rather than full salt, however there are certainly many situations where you will be fishing in pure saltwater.  I had the opportunity to fish with the guys on Sweetwater TV recently and they had all freshwater tackle.  It worked well for us, but there are a few things that you will want to watch out for:

1. Magnesium- Many high end freshwater reels use Magnesium as a material in the reel.  Magnesium and saltwater don't get along very well so this is to be avoided

Joey and Miles used their standard bass tackle, both spin and baitcaster, successfully in saltwater while fishing with Tom Rowland in Louisiana

Joey and Miles used their standard bass tackle, both spin and baitcaster, successfully in saltwater while fishing with Tom Rowland in Louisiana

2. Capacity- I use 100% braid these days and using braid will help add more capacity to your freshwater reels.  I like to have 100 yards at the VERY MINIMUM for any type of saltwater fish, but if you were fishing for small redfish, you could probably get by with less.  Typically, a 30-40 size reel will be more than adequate for redfish and is a typical bass size spinning reel.  The same holds true for a baitcaster.  Just make sure you have enough line for a big fish if you are lucky enough to hook one.

3. Rod Action- There should be very little problem here.  Most bass rods are actually heavier than what I typically use for extremely large redfish.  My favorite spinning rod is a 7 foot 12-20 pound line, Medium/Heavy action rod.  Most Bass rods are heavier than this rod, but we routinely catch redfish up to 30 pounds, permit, tarpon, bonefish, barracuda, jack crevalles and many other species on a light rod like this.

4. Maintenance- Saltwater is tough on gear...all gear, but it can be particularly rough on stuff tht was never designed for saltwater.  The absolute best way to take care of your tackle that is used in saltwater is to give it a good bath in freshwater.  Get all the salt off of the rod and the reel as well as any lures that you used.  Once back home, grease or oil the reel's moving parts to prolong the life of the gear.  Some corrosion prevention can also be applied to the rod guides to prevent or stop rust there as well.

A triple header of big bull redfish for the hosts of Sweetwater and Tom Rowland.  All 3 fish were caught using light bass tackle

A triple header of big bull redfish for the hosts of Sweetwater and Tom Rowland.  All 3 fish were caught using light bass tackle

5. Lures- This is where Bass tackle really has a second life in saltwater.  Redfish will eat anything that a bass will eat so all of your soft plastics and hard lures will work.  You may need to upgrade some of your hooks though.  I love to get the new Bass Pro Shops fishing catalog every year and look through the new baits that have been developed.  Almost everything is also highly effective for redfish as well.  My favorite crossover baits are the Tube, Elaztec Jerkbait and crayfish imitations for soft baits and spinner baits, buzz baits and surface lures like frogs and walk the dog type lures are all highly effective.  Redfish LOVE these baits. Worms, creature baits and lots of other things will also work well for redfish in certain situations.  Last year we took an Alabama Rig to the Everglades and had Redfish crushing it.  Just about anything can work and sometimes Bass lures will work better than anything else because the fish may have never seen it before.

I hope this answer helps you.  Send us a picture of the big redfish you catch on bass tackle.

Tom Rowland