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Cut bait for Redfish?

Orlando76Orlando76 Homosassa Posts: 6 Deckhand
Yesterday morning I sat on a school of feeding Reds for half hour. I only had a few pinfish left as it was the end of my week of fishing. I could not interest a fish to bite the live pins. Threw some lures and soft plastic, Zara spook earned a hit and miss. I left the school empty handed but came back an hour later and presumably the same school of reds were still in same spot. All I had left now was a gargantuan pinfish. I’ve never had much luck fishing cut bait for anything inshore. I cut it up pin, tossed it out under a popping cork and and game on, twice. 

My question is what are your tips and techniques for fishing cut bait for redfish? I have easy access to smaller pinfish and 12”+ mullet and a few blue crabs. Size of cut? Keep it still or bounce it every minute or so? Cork? Keep off bottom? Thanks. 


  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 5,030 Admiral
    Free line
    You should have been here yesterday
  • nicknick Crystal RiverPosts: 4,961 Captain
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,636 Captain
    edited May 26 #5
    I free line without a cork and use no weight.  I use an in-line circle hook to avoid snagging on the rocks.  Offset circles hang up too much and the hookup ratio seems the same. I've used everything from 3/0 to 7/0 grouper hooks and they all work. 6 ft of 20-30 lb fluorocarbon leader tied to the hook with a loop knot.  I hook the cut bait from the meat out through the skin leaving most of the circle hook exposed for better hookups.

    Cast upstream or across the current and let the water move the bait.  If it gets stuck behind a rock, let it sit for a few minutes. Often the pinfish or little snappers will pull it from the rock. 

    Ignore the little taps. Redfish and snook typically grab and go.  When you see the line start to move just hang on.
  • Widespread PanicWidespread Panic Posts: 219 Deckhand
    Doc nailed “lazy fishing”. I use 2/0 owner circles. And if you have a novice on the boat or an ex-bass fisherman, put the rod in a holder, hookup ratio will greatly improve.
  • nicknick Crystal RiverPosts: 4,961 Captain
    Doc nailed “lazy fishing”. I use 2/0 owner circles. And if you have a novice on the boat or an ex-bass fisherman, put the rod in a holder, hookup ratio will greatly improve.
    I deal with this daily. 🤣 

    My saying is “Rod holders catch fish, not people.”

    I like 4/0 vmc’s. But hook size isn’t standard from brand to brand.
  • 2times2times AlvaPosts: 73 Deckhand
    I occasionally use "cut" bait for redfish and usually have good luck.  My favorite cut bait is pinfish and fresh ladyfish.  
    I like to cut about 4" pinfish diagonally from behind the head down to middle of the anal fin and I like the tail half.  My father and brother likes the head half.  
    With ladyfish I like to filet each side and then cut 1" x 4" strip from the filet.  I hook it on the top so there is some movement with the current.
    I usually use 3/0 Owner circle hook with 20 or 30 lb. test mono leader and no weight when fishing cut bait.  I just cast it out and let it drift.  When there is little to no current I'll put it 18"-30" below a popping cork.  
  • HARRYDHARRYD Posts: 235 Deckhand
    whatever you do don't use cut ladyfish.   They hate that. 
    Were you serious or just laughing?
  • Chesapeake trollerChesapeake troller Posts: 77 Deckhand
    Heck yes. Old timers out hunting meat will anchor up in the 4 to 6 foot channels surrounded by grass flats and soak cut bait for reds and just about anything else running by. Or anchor next door to the channel and cast your cut bait into them.


  • swampmonsterswampmonster Posts: 321 Deckhand
    If you get caught on the bottom a lot use a popping cork. I also sometimes use a jig head with cut bait. Crabs will catch sometimes when all else fails. I pop the top shell  off and cut them in half with chicken shears. Mud minnows are good also. 
  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 344 Deckhand
    edited May 27 #12
     Cut mullet. Use a head or tail plug on the finger size. Head plug Hook head up threw the mouth, tail plug remove tail and hook backwards threw side of tail.  On the jumbos cut fillets, then make strips the size of finger mullet, or 1/2 size in lenght. Fold strip over and hook in one skin side & out the other. 
     Cut pogies. 
    With a pair of scissors cut the tail off a pogy. Then cut down the backbone towards the head. Cut the head off. Hook the stips in the skin out the skin like the mullet strips. 

     Free line, float, or lead depends on the bottom. 
     On oysters or Rocky bottom use the float or free line. Sandy/muddy bottom use a lead. Jig head, buck tail, egg sinker, split short, or bass bullet weight. Depending on depth & current. 

     I usally was fishing something like a dock, or oyster bed from anchor.  Slip it in & let it drift back to the structure. Repeat. 
     Inlet/creek mouth cast it in the mouth  & let it come out. Repeat. 

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,272 Moderator
    Welcome aboard Orlando 76 !  Sounds like you had a nice visit.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,194 Officer
    edited May 27 #14
    HARRYD said:
    whatever you do don't use cut ladyfish.   They hate that. 
    Were you serious or just laughing?



    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • ElapidElapid Posts: 84 Deckhand
    and those little pinfish- don't cut them, just score them a couple times on each side and fish whole. caught all the slot sized reds I wanted last Saturday doing exactly that. btw- I've found the tension of a larger bobber tends to spook the reds when they start to pull it around. use as small a bobber as possible to keep your line out of the rocks and like panic said above- just keep the rod n the holder until the game is on.
  • Orlando76Orlando76 Homosassa Posts: 6 Deckhand
    Thanks for the tips guys. I’m heading out tomorrow for bait and will hit it hard Sunday and Monday. 
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