Like them or loath them, redfin are a fun species to catch on fly. Sadly they are becoming more prevalent in a number of our fresh water streams and impoundments, but as they are a great fly fishing target we may as well take advantage of them being here.
I know there will be people out there saying – “but they’re just redfin”, and I recall that was the pretty much what we said about carp a few years back, but both carp and redfin are great sportsfish to practice various techniques and apply them to other species. In this post I will focus on getting down deep for redfin in impoundments and how I use technology to help me both find the fish and also how deep I need to fish, which means more time catching and less time searching and blind casting.
Although a pest species here in Australia, redfin are part of the perch family and like it’s relatives are great fighting fish. On top of that they are pretty good eating so why not have a crack at them when everything goes quiet on the trout, bass or goldens.
The good thing about redfin is they tend to school up so once you find them you can usually string a few hookups together. The trick sometimes is finding them. In our impoundments they can be in deep (40+ metres) of water one day and in 2 – 3 metres another day. Usually once you find the depth they are sitting at you can quite easily search those depth contours and find the schools.
As you can see in the above image the school of redfin are sitting in between 5 & 10 metres of water and that is pretty much where we found them most of the day on that trip. You can clearly see the school on the Sidescan and that they are sitting at the edge of the drop off from the downscan and FishReveal.
As we moved around the dam the fish were pretty consistently in the 8 – 10m of water so on the Lowrance HDS units you can set the contour depth on your maps to highlight those depth ranges and get a guide of where to search without having to go across acres of water at different depths. This is such an easy way to pinpoint target areas.
Once you have established the depth the fish are sitting you can work out how long it will take to get the fly down to that depth. We use fast sink RIO Deep Sea lines for this as they get the fly down fast and keep it in the zone. The 300 grain line was the perfect weight to keep the fly in the fish’s faces and sinks at about 6.5 inches per second – so to get down 8 – 10m it takes about a minute. On an intermediate line at 2.5 inches per second you are looking at 6 – 10 minutes.
The flies we use were a mix of rattle zonker style flies that are tied similar to a rattle clouser but with rabbit strip in place of the bucktail. These provide both noise and movement which are two things redfin really like! And the others we had good success with were actually Hare’s Ear Nymphs in around size 12, and Craig’s Nighttimes.
The Fly rod weight is up to you, but if you are fishing a fast sink / S6 line make sure the rod is matched to the line. for the 300 grain I used a fast action 7 weight rod.
On this trip we managed around 50 fish in a short period, by using the sounder and knowing where the schools were in the water column. Having a well set up sounder, like the Lowrance HDS Carbon, with your settings tweaked to where you are fishing (Depth, clarity etc) certainly makes a difference to taking the guess work out of prospecting for fish.
A Quick run down on the gear: Fast Sink line with a rod to match the weight rating of the line. In our case 300 Grain with a 7 weight rod. Flies – Bunny strip rattle clousers and small nymphs seemed the most effective. The sounder that the images above were taken from was a Lowrance HDS Carbon 12 with totalscan transducer and the latest software update for Fishreveal. Fishreveal is a great tool to differentiate weed and structure from fish. You can see in the sounder images even the small fish show up as fish and not noise or structure.
Hope you find that information useful and can apply what you learn looking for and then fishing for Redfin down deep to bass, trout and any other impoundment fishing you do.
I am now a Content Contributor of Navico (Lowrance / Simrad)