Red Drum or “Reds” are considered by many to be one of the most popular inshore gamefish from Texas and Louisiana all the way around Florida and up the mid-Atlantic. If you browse fishing forums or read reports, Redfish fishing will undoubtedly be a topic of conversation.
If you ever take a redfish fishing charter(s) in Louisiana, you’ll soon learn why. Not only is it fun to catch Reds, they also make for an excellent meal. While there are bag limits, a good charter will be able to take you to prime fishing spots where redfish are feeding.
Since the redfish has such a wide range, so too are rigs and methods for catching them.
Before discussing the various rigs used by charters in Louisiana and other popular redfish fishing areas, we first want to explain what a rig is. This vital part of your fishing equipment is meant to deliver your bait to the water and help it stay afloat or sink to the bottom. It can be as simple as a hook attached to the end of your line or as complex as multiple hooks with a float, weight and swivel(s).
Continue reading for a brief explanation of 8 common rig setups used for redfish fishing in Louisiana.
- Carolina Rig – Used with both live and artificial bait, the Carolina Rig is designed to move across the bottom of the ocean floor. Since it’s meant to sink, the Carolina Rig has a heavy lead weight that is followed by a swivel and then the hook. Many anglers use a Carolina Rig with soft plastic baits.
- Drop Shot Rig – This type of rig is popular for a wide variety of scenarios, including deep water, shallow water, live bait, artificial bait and more. This rig is unique since the hook is tied to the main line then the sinker is below it. The amount of line between the hook and sinker will depend on how far from the ocean floor you want your bait to settle.
- Floating Rig – You probably used this rig when learning to fish as a kid. The floating rig consists of a bobber with a split-shot weight and hook attached. How much leader line between the bobber and the hook depends on how deep you want the bait to go. Fishing charters will not use floating rigs in water more than a few feet deep.
- Florida Rig – This rig is used with plastic worms primarily when fishing for Bass, but can be used for similar baits aboard Redfish fishing charters. The Florida rig consists of a sinker with a metal cork screw in its base that you can attach directly to the plastic worm, keeping the two together.
- Free Lining Rig – Mostly used in very shallow water since it only has a hook at the end of the line – no floats, no swivels, no weights. This is why it’s also known as a weightless rig. These rigs are used for fishing the upper parts of the water column – if you’re fishing for Reds in the shallow flats for example, you may use a free lining rig.
- Popping Cork – This rig consists of a cork made of Styrofoam. Its top is shaped in a way so it makes a gurgling sound when yanked or “popped” by the angler. This sound is meant to imitate fish feeding at the top of the water, which will attract gamefish in the area who think they’re about to stumble on a pack of minnows or pinfish.
- Split Shot Rig – Almost as simple as a free lining rig, the split shot rig is a popular option for Redfish anglers and fishing charters throughout the Louisiana coast. It consists of a single line with a hook on the end and a split shot lead weight a few inches up the line. The split shot rig is quite effective for a wide variety of baits, including live, cut and even artificial.
- Texas Rig – Used with plastic worms, the Texas Rig allows you to fish in a variety of circumstances – deep water or shallow, cover or out in the open. A sinker slides onto the line and rests on top of the plastic worm. The weight can be adjusted depending on the water depth, or you can go weightless.
Rigs are chosen based on a variety of factors, including the type of bait you’re using, the fish you’re pursuing, water depth and more.
If you’re a little confused, that’s okay. Redfish fishing charters and experienced anglers throughout Louisiana will know which rig you should use for the location you’ll be fishing.
Capt. Rob Dupont of Impulse Fishing Charters has been pursuing Redfish in Louisiana’s coastal waters for decades, and will not only know which rig to use, but how to get it setup and ready for fishing action. Click here to learn more or to schedule your excursion today!