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Keeper Redfish on Bass Tackle with Mark Davis

provided by John Phillips

Some anglers like to test their strength and endurance against giant saltwater fish. Mossy Oak Elements Pro, Mark Davis of Lexington, South Carolina, has proved he’s on the extreme end of this giant challenge of man against beast. Davis fishes from Montauk, New York, to Brownsville, Texas, Alaska and Australia for all saltwater species for his TV show, “BigWater Adventures” on the Outdoor Channel. Most people on the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico Coast believe that all the bottom fish die or are uncatchable in the winter months, but this isn’t true. This week, Mark Davis explains that there is still some really good fishing offshore for other types of snapper.

Mark Davis redfishing

I was fishing with Captain Chad Dufrene of Dufrene’s Guide Service in Delacroix, Louisiana. We were fishing for redfish and didn’t keep any, but still had a really good time catching and releasing a good number of them.

When I was a youngster in Charleston, South Carolina, I got bit by the bass bug and took a tackle box full of freshwater bass lures to fish with on Santee Cooper Lake. Surprisingly, not only was I catching bass, but I caught redfish on Rat-L-Traps and spinner baits. I even caught redfish flipping jigs into the grass and using other bass-fishing techniques. Since that time, I’ve seen no reason to change the type of lures that I use to catch inshore redfish. There are plenty of lures made for saltwater fish, but I still prefer using my artificial bass lures to catch them. Bass lures, rods and reels, especially those medium-heavy or heavy-action rods about 7-feet long, have helped me catch many keeper redfish.

A week before the Louisiana trip, I was supposed to be catching largemouth and smallmouth bass for a media event on Lake Erie. Although the event got cancelled, instead of spending 14 days in quarantine to fish there, I just brought the lures that I was supposed to fish in that event down to the Louisiana Coast.

I’m friends with a lot of people in the fishing-tackle industry, but I don’t fish with just one company’s lures. On our TV show, I fish the lures that catch the species of fish when I’m in certain places of the world at various times of the year. In Louisiana, I fished three different types of lures in 18-20 inch water, including Strike King’s Thunder Cricket and Rage Swimmer. The Thunder Cricket was a bladed jig, and I liked it because it had quite a bit of vibration. I retrieved it through the grass that I fished inshore. The Rage Swimmer was much like a bass swimbait, but I reeled it in on a jig head because the redfish were in the weeds.  

I fish with tackle that’s a little heavier than what most people will fish with for slot reds and bass. I also use Battalion Inshore 7-foot medium or medium-light action rods with Slammer Penn reels. We spool the reels with 30-pound-test Seaguar Smackdown braided line and use a Gamakasu EWG Extra Wide Gap Worm Hook. We filmed for two days and caught and released over 100 slot reds, and I don’t know how many 2-pound largemouth bass.

When I asked Captain Chad, “Do bass tournaments ever take place here?” he answered, “Yeah, they do. Sometimes you need to catch 18-20 pounds of bass to win a tournament.” Before going on this trip, I was expecting to primarily catch bass and was surprised when redfish ended up in my boat. For anyone else who plans to go inshore fishing along the Louisiana Coast, I suggest you take your bass-fishing rods and tackle to catch some of these hard-fighting, fun-catching slot redfish.

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