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Red Drum aka redfish are extremely tasty! This is probably the reason why many guys who go saltwater fishing target them specifically. If you have been bitten by the redfish bug and you want to catch a good number of them, you will need good baits.
In this post, I will share with you the best live and artificial red drum baits. With any of these baits on your fishing hook, your chances of catching red drum fish increase exponentially.
Without further ado, here are the best live and artificial red drum baits.
The Best Live And Artificial Red Drum Baits
1. Live Shrimp
The best live bait for catching redfish is live shrimp. Redfish are predatory fish. Because of this, they will be automatically attracted to live shrimp.
Moreover, many saltwater fish love shrimp so if you want to catch as many fish as possible faster, you are better off using live shrimp as bait.
The best thing about using shrimp as bait is the fact that they are readily available in most seaside towns and cities.
To get maximum success while using shrimp as bait, you should take good care of the shrimp you buy to use as bait.
The purpose of doing this is to ensure that every shrimp you put on your hook looks very alive and healthy. If you do this, red drums will be quickly attracted to your hook every time you throw it into the water.
While live shrimp are highly regarded by anglers, they are only maximally effective in areas where the number of smaller fish is minimal. This is because such fish can easily unhook them or eat them without getting hooked.
2. Cut Mullet
Cut mullet is a very popular red drum bait. Some call it the best red drum bait because of how effective it is. To use cut mullet as bait, you should need to buy or catch fresh mullet and then to cut it into pieces. If you cannot get fresh mullet, you can simply use frozen mullet.
When you cut mullets into pieces, you should let the head remain one piece and cut the body parts into small pieces. A cut mullet head is perfect for targeting bull red drums, while small mullet body parts of about 2 inches are perfect for targeting smaller red drums.
It is not advisable to use the tail of a mullet to catch fish as it can easily tangle your fishing line.
Cut mullet is an easy live bait to use because hooking it is easy and it is very attractive to fish. According to professional anglers, it is best to use cut mullet if you are fishing in somewhat clear waters.
3. Rattling Plugs
If you are fishing in turbid or muddy waters, rattling plugs are the best to use. This is because when the waters are muddy or not very clear, it is difficult for redfish to see your bait.
Therefore, targeting them with a live shrimp or a cut mullet in such a situation is useless. The best thing to do when wetting your fishing line in waters that are not very clear is to use an attention-grabbing bait.
And there is no better attention-grabbing bait than rattling plugs. Each rattling plug has a chamber inside it with metal parts, which rattle when it is tossed around by water.
The rattling or the shaking of the metal parts makes rattling plugs vibrate when they are in the water.
The vibrations are felt deep below the water surface and can easily grab the attention of many fish. This is what makes rattling plugs the perfect bait for getting even fish that are hiding or feeding off the seafloor.
Rattling plugs come in different colors. The best colors for targeting red drum fish are white, green, and yellow.
4. Cotton Cordell Jointed Red Fin
This is one of the best lures ever made! I say this because it is one I have personally used several times alone and with friends to successfully target red drum fish.
The lure measures about 5-inch in length and looks quite colorful. Several color versions are available.
The best way to use this lure to catch a healthy red drum is to pop it hard into the water and let it slowly come back to the surface. When you do this, its dive will imitate the dive of any baitfish and the resurfacing will imitate that of baitfish escaping.
This fishing technique almost always attracts red drum fish very quickly and makes fishing expeditions a success!
This lure also happens to be noisy. So if a redfish does not spot it diving into the water or bobbling in the water, it will certainly hear its vibrations and will surely come and try to get it even if it was hiding. This makes this lure perfect for targeting reds even in waters that are not so clear.
5. Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon Copper
According to some experienced anglers I know, the Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon in copper is the best lure for catching red drums! This is because it is very colorful and attracts big reds very quickly.
In other words, if you have spotted a red or a school of them and you cast your line with this lure on its hook, you will quickly be reeling in a big catch in double-quick time. This is especially true if the water is clear or slow-moving.
According to one of the most famous anglers on the Gulf Coast, you should quit fishing if you cannot catch red drums using this lure. This shows just how effective this lure is for catching fish.
The lure is available in several sizes. Its 0.5-ounce size is the best for those casting their lines far. It has a faster sink rate and, therefore, catches the attention of redfish even faster. Its color and its movement are too attractive for any redfish to resist.
6. LiveTarget Rigged Shrimp
This is probably one of the best artificial baits for targeting reds. The LiveTarget Rigged Shrimp is a realistic soft plastic shrimp that is simply too good-looking for redfish to resist. And if they do resist, it has got a small rattle that vibrates and makes it irresistible.
In my opinion, the best thing about this shrimp lure is the fact that it is easy to use. You can simply hook it to your fishing line and use it. If you want, you can use it under a popping cork. This is what you should do if you have a long fishing line.
The thing you will love the most about this plastic lure is its rattling ability. The rattling is silent; you cannot hear it. However, reds deep in the water will hear it very clearly and they will certainly make a beeline for it. This is because the noise mimics that of natural fish forage that reds love.
In terms of size, there are two types of LiveTarget Rigged Shrimps on the market: 0.5-ounce rigged shrimps and 1-ounce rigged shrimps. While in terms of color, there are ten types of LiveTarget Rigged Shrimps. The best colors for catching reds are green, brown, and white.
7. Egret Wedgetail Mullet
As I mentioned above, cut live mullets are among the best live baits for targeting red drums. The Egret Wedgetail Mullet is an artificial mullet. While it is artificial, it is just as attractive as fresh cut mullet to redfish.
By definition, this artificial bait is essentially a swimbait. It is designed in such a manner that it appears to swim in the water just like a live mullet. And it vibrates making it difficult for bull reds to resist.
The best way to use this artificial mullet is to attach it to a swimbait hook or a jig head. According to various fishing magazines, when this bait is attached to a swimbait hook, it becomes a red drum magnet.
It is one of the most popular artificial baits in the United States especially for those fishing in the Gulf.
This soft plastic mullet is available in several colors. The most exciting and interesting colors are White Diamond and Limeade. They are perfect for catching big reds.
8. Yum Money Minnow
This artificial but very realistic bait is made of soft plastic. It is swimbait by definition and when cast in water, it looks like a minnow swimming. It is essentially hollow making it stay close to the surface and enabling better hooking of reds for easier retrieval.
The bait measures 3.5-inch in length and it has a vibrating tail. This makes it look even more realistic. You can use this bait to fish in less than 3 ft. deep waters on in deep waters along the surf, bayous, and jetties.
The bait is available in several color patterns. The bright and eye-catching Clown color pattern and the Pearl-and-chartreuse color pattern are the best for targeting reds.
9. Berkley Gulp! Bait
This bait is what is known as a twitchbait aka a reaction lure. It is very good for grabbing the attention of big reds. When it is twitched, it makes a strong darting movement that can excite even red drums that are not very hungry.
The Berkley Gulp! Bait is made of plastic but the plastic is soft plastic which makes it look very much like live prey. This is the reason why it is quite effective because its suppleness makes big reds want to dig in.
According to experienced anglers fishing off the Texas coast, Berkley Gulp baits can be used to catch red drum fish in both clear and murky waters. In other words, they are perfect for all sorts of situations.
This bait is available in several versions. The best version is the Jerk Shad. This version in New Penny or Pink Shine is very attractive to reds and can be used with light jig heads to fish in shallow waters and with 0.25-ounce heads for fishing in the surf and along the jetties.
10. Mirrolure Lil John
This is a flashy and scented twitch bait that is a renowned redfish killer! It is perfect for attracting reds even when they are skittish. This is because it not only attracts them by its darting movement, its vibrations, and its bright colors but also by its scent.
Its scent is perfect for attracting reds, especially in clear and calm waters. The best way to utilize this bait is to hook it to a light spinning rig. If you do this, you will be more likely to enjoy your fishing and have maximum fun.
The bait is available in several different colors including Margarita, Opening Night, Root Beer, and Gold. All these colors are specifically designed to appeal to and lure red drum fish for a bite.
11. Bass Assassin Red Daddy
This is essentially a spinnerbait. It is one of the finest tools for catching redfish in murky waters. It is perfect for explosive fishing. In other words, it is ideal for those days you want to catch many reds.
In terms of design, the Bass Assassin Red Daddy looks very realistic and mimics natural swimming. It also has a spinner blade that vibrates and it looks very colorful. All these things are deliberate to ensure it does its work perfectly.
You can use this artificial bait to target bass as its name suggests.
The Final Word
As it is evident in the article above, there are many exciting live and artificial baits for catching red drum fish. In my opinion, the best lure for targeting red drum fish is the Egret Wedgetail Mullet.