JUNE/JULY 2021 FEATURED ARTICLE
“Eat What You Catch”
Article by Capt. Aerich Oliver- Redfish Charters
Recent studies have shown that redfish can spend their entire life span within six miles of their birthplace. Most anglers don’t realize that tides fall very low, but they will comeback. I can look at my calendars from years past and tell you by looking at almost any given date where I can find the reds also what they will be biting on. They are an aggressive fighter and an absolute blast for any angler young or old to catch.
The redfish are found throughout our bay systems in and around Rockport, Texas, they live here year ‘round. I usually fish Estes Flats which covers a lot of territory. Estes Flats has lots of different names for different spots. The local anglers give them names which never appear on the fishing maps. I uses the GPS and mark down all the spots.
One method of catching redfish is to pole or troll along in 10″-12″ of water looking for the sand holes that should be within casting distance ahead. While doing this, try to be as quiet as humanly possible while trying to sneak up on our favorite fish to catch. When the weather is hot and the water temperature is up the redfish would prefer to lay in ambush for their food rather than use their energy actively pursuing it.
If you find them, you can catch them. The schools of reds as I mentioned above with the summer heat will tend to break up into “pods” of 2 or 3 redfish. You will encounter more singles than anything in the late summer months. There are too many variables to be absolutely sure of when reds will “rodeo” or school up. This is when one boat seems to find a big school of reds and the other boats join in on the fun. They kinda circle around the school and everyone is catching their limit in no time, usually when a boat catches their limit they will pole out as quietly as possible and give another boat their spot. The reds will find an area they like and granted they will be scared away but they will come back. If you’re lucky enough to find a school of reds and they get spooked, be patient they won’t go far, they will come back, keep the trolling motor off and wait. Redfishing is a waiting game on lots of days.
Redfish bite on numerous types of bait. A lot of the time I cast net for my own bait and usually use mullet. Mullet can be used live or cut. I also at times use mud minnows when I find them with the cast net. Perch are also a good option. Certain times of the year and late summer months being included in that I buy shrimp and croakers use them. When I use shrimp I nearly always kill them by pulling the heads back (but leaving it connected) and coiling them up on the hooks. This seems to be a favorite of the redfish. I use 12-15 lb. test braided line and a #3 or #4 wide gap hook. I also use a 1 oz. egg slip sinker. This aids in the casting distance.
Now that you’ve caught the redfish, I’ll share several of my grandmother’s recipes with you. Always try to eat what you catch. These are all favorites because I love redfish cooked any way I can get it. Actually I just love to eat especially redfish that we’ve caught.
Redfish On The Half Shell
Fillet the redfish off of the backbone leaving the rib bones attached, and leaving the skin and scales on the other side. I pull the belly skin off the rib area. OK now the fish is prepared. Fire up the BBQ pit and put the redfish meat side down for approximately 1-2 minutes, depending on how hot your fire, flip the half shell over so the scales are toward the fire. Then pour Ranch Dressing all over the redfish and the skin will curl up and kinda make a bowl. Continue to cook for several more minutes until the redfish is flaky and done. Another favorite topping is to pour Picante Sauce instead of Ranch Dressing over the redfish meat and squeeze a fresh lemon on top. Cook as above.
Fillet the redfish removing the rib section also. Roll the redfish fillet in unsalted melted butter then sprinkle with Blackened Redfish Magic, McCormick’s Seafood Seasoning or Creole Seasoning to taste. These spices can be hot, so use sparingly. Cook OUTSIDE on a HOT cast iron skillet, turning as you cook for about 3 minutes, until the thickest portion of the redfish can be broken and flaked.
Cut the redfish fillets into finger size sticks. Mix approximately 1 cup of half and half or evaporated milk and 2 eggs beaten together. Roll fish sticks in the milk & egg mixture then into cornmeal with McCormicks Seafood Seasoning mixed in the Cornmeal. Then fry until it floats.
Check out our website www. redfishcharters.com. I have added Texas Parks & Wildlife rules and regulations on the site also, it’s just a click away.
My grandmother Beverly has lots more recipes on the website, check those out for more yummies. Another link on my website is FAQ (frequently asked questions) link. Give my grandmother Beverly a call to set up your fun fishing adventure with me, Capt. Aerich at (361) 729-8220 OR (361) 386-0459. Check out all the pictures on the website also.
Only hire a USCG Licensed/TPWD Certified Fishing/Charter Boat Captain!