Charlie’s – Welder Flats 9/21/12.

Fish Catching Travel

Between being gone, and meeting the tree guy, I had not been on the water since Monday.  There was a possibility that my brother might come, but that did not happen, so Thursday night I decided to head to Charlie’s to put in and do a little red fishing.  It turned out to be worth the drive.

On my way down there I decided to see what would happen if I just put the trolling motor down, and kept going until I quit.  My plan was to not start the big motor until I was ready to head in.  And other than a short idle to get around another boat, I actually fished the whole shoreline from Welder’s to the Drum Hole without starting the motor, and folks that is a long way.

The tide was on the rise, the wind light, right down the canal, and the water was fairly clear.  After a short run I pulled up on the point right before the Welder Flats area, and immediately caught 3 redfish on a Waker.  For the next couple of hours as I worked the shoreline, I put another 4 in the boat on the Waker.  Now they definitely got smaller until the sun came up.  But most of them that bit were jumping all over it.

I just eased down the bank with the trolling motor on low, letting the breeze do the work.  Most of the bites came on points, cuts, and all had one thing in common, grass.  They liked it reeled at a nice steady pace, and as usual I threw the gold one.  The reason I started with that is it is fall.  The mullet are doing their thing, and some of them are pretty good sized.  The Waker is a good imitation of a mullet cruising the surface, and must seem to be easy prey.  Whatever the reason, from August until December, the Waker is a great bait to throw.

When the sun got up, and the fish slowed down on the Waker, I switched to the Redfish Magic, and threw that until I quit.  And that worked just as well, and I managed to catch another 6.  In fact, the spinnerbait fish were either bigger, or I was the right area, but either way, they liked it.  I lost a couple of real nice ones, and missed another couple.  Now normally I wouldn’t miss or lose that many on the Redfish Magic, but they wanted it almost buzzed out of the grass when the water was up.  I saw at least half of them eat it.

The first spinnerbait red.  Don’t ask me where the pictures of the better ones are, I managed to mess them up.

One thing about that area is how shallow most of it is.  I seemed to be in about  2 foot of water most of the way.  I could just reach the bank, and having the shallow floating skiff allowed me to get back in some shallow places.  But back in did not seem to be where the fish were.  They were definitely on the points and banks that stuck a little further out.  And when you caught one, you usually got another bite.

So all in all not a bad day, and it allowed me to try something I have wanted to do for awhile, see how many fish I could catch without stopping or moving.  Instead of 15 miles, I went about a mile and a half and started fishing.  Now from Welder Flats to Drum Hole is a long way, and there were stretches of water with no bites, but by just heading down the bank, and following it where ever it went, I managed to have a good day.  Would I have caught more by moving more, who knows? But anytime I can catch 13 reds, even if most of them were small, I am happy.  They have a big heart and are just plain fun to fight.

Wish I could get the bigger ones to hit on demand, but at least you can see they way I am using that Waker.

The Basics of Waker Fishing

To get started is easy.  Just go buy a gold Waker by Mann’s.  You need a medium heavy rod, 15 - 20 lb test, and a bait casting reel.  Now comes the fun part.

Where

The Waker is a very shallow running bait, and consequently it is designed, and works for, really shallow fish.  Since it runs that shallow, it is ideal for shallow banks with grass that get flooded with the tide.  The best banks have grass lining the shore, and if there are a couple of oyster patches, all the better.  The Waker will easily pull out of, or through, slender grass, so do not be afraid to cast it right to it.

If the bank is too deep, 5 foot as an example, I have not had much luck on banks like that.  Now if it has a grass flat that floods it will work fine once the water gets past the drop.  Often I can just float the boat, barely reach the bank, and that is when the Waker seems to works the best.

And the wind is not your friend.  The Waker works best with a light breeze, and in low light conditions it works great with no wind.  It is a great bait in clear to slightly stained water.  But if it is windy and muddy, time for a spinnerbait.

Also, long shallow oyster bars are great when the water is running over them and they are flooded.  You can run it over some really shallow stuff, making it a real functional bait over shallow oysters where you might stay hung all the time.  And think about big long flats, and shallow back lakes, where the reds tend to really school in the fall.  But no matter what, think shallow.

The Bait 

There is a couple of things to know about the Waker.  It is a heavy bait and will cast like a bullet.  Consequently it will go a mile, great for the places we just talked about.  Also, the hooks are a heavy saltwater hook.  A soft rod is not the rod for a Waker.  You need stout line combined with the heavier rod to set the hook.  As the bait is running on the surface, line test is not as critical.  Of course, it is a great braid bait if you prefer that.

In addition to that, it does have a tendency to roll and sometimes tangle itself, but popping it out of the water will occasionally clear it.  I have tried changing the hooks, but have not found one that is the right weight.  The balance is necessary for it to perform properly, so an occasional hook over just comes with using it.  Other than that, the bait is very durable and easy to use, and the one I am throwing right now has caught a lot or reds.

How 

Like all shallow baits for fish in shallow water, a Waker is most productive when the tide conditions line up with sunrise.  Reduced light is the key, but moving water is a close second.

You want to be able to reach the very edge of the shore with this bait.  It’s weight allows for long casts, and it is often necessary as there are times you can barely float the boat and reach the bank.  Let the wind and tide move you, and use the trolling motor sparingly, and on low.  When it is that shallow you need to keep the noise to a minimum.

Once you cast, just start reeling.  Keep the rod pointed at the bait.  It might be possible to fish it too slow, but it is easy to fish it to fast.  I use a Citica, with a 6.2 to 1, and generally reel it at a moderate steady pace.  Every once in a while one will hit it if you stop it, but most of the time a steady reel all the way to the boat is the ticket.  You want to make a nice big wake like a mullet on his morning cruise.

It has actually surprised me the number of ways they hit it.  Sometimes they flat out smash the stuffing out of it, others they just suck it under.  So be ready for anything.  If you see one trailing it, and you will, just keep it coming.  It is possible to get one to eat it if you stop, but generally keep it moving.

And if you see them tailing or swimming by, it is best not to cast to close, just lead them and reel it so that they arrive in the same place at the same time.  Nothing like watching one blow up on it.  And with the bait being as heavy as it is, splashing down to close usually spokes them.

So there are the basics.  The Waker is not difficult to fish, in fact it is a good bait for someone having some trouble catching fish.  You can cover lots of water and is a great search bait.  And one last trick, be sure to have a plastic close at hand in case one completely misses the Waker.  Just grab the plastic and flip it back in there, you just might add a bonus fish.

Well that does it for now.  Will be fishing 3 or 4 days straight starting Tuesday when my brother comes.  Where, and for what, will be decided when he gets here.  So thanks for reading my stuff, and it will be a busy fishing week here at Fish Catching Travel.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

About Redfishlaw

I am a retired attorney who just loves to fish. I was a freshwater guide for about 20 years and now have moved to the salt. I am not the greatest fisherman, but I am committed. So if you love fishing, and want to learn what little I have to offer, stop by anytime.
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