Red drum, commonly called redfish, are considered by many anglers the most exciting of all inland saltwater fish to catch with topwater lures. When redfish explode on a surface bait water, flies in all directions. Even smaller redfish will put up a fight that can last several minutes.
As obvious as it might sound, fishing with topwater starts with the cast. Many anglers cast the topwater plug to close to the redfish. This puts the red drum school on high alert and they will likely move off. Long casts beyond the fish are a requirement if you want to be successful. This is one of the reasons why redfishermen use the largest plug available. Redfish have large mouths, so they can handle just about any topwater lure you can toss. A trick is to change the rear hook to a larger size. This gives the back end of the topwater plug a lower profile.
Figure out the direction the redfish are moving before you throwing the topwater plug. You need to cast well ahead of the school. Let them work their way to the lure. Try to time the retrieve so that it crosses the red drum’s path either just in front or just behind the school. A retrieve in the middle will likely scatter the redfish.
One of the most popular styles of topwater plugs are stick baits. The large lures that have a rattle in them will catch the most fish. The typical retrieve for stick baits is called “walking the dog”. This is done by holding your rod tip straight up and shaking it as you slowly reel the line in. This causes the stick bait to move side to side. The nose of the plug should briefly appear out of the water at the end of each shake. Try to time your rod movement with the baits rhythm.
Chuggers are another good topwater plug to try. These have a small cup on the front of the plug that catches water on each pull. After the cast hold the rod at a 45* angle to the water. Reel in the slack and give the plug a sharp snap with the rod tip. Do this all the way back to you. Redfish will attack these on the pause. Unfortunately this is when the line has some slack. To catch redfish with these you must pay very close attention to the plug. I have watched many redfish follow this plug all the way back in before hitting it.
Minnow style topwater baits work well in calm conditions. These are a less aggressive style of bait. A steady retrieve with short pauses does not work as well as a quick retrieve with occasional sharp pulls of the rod tip. The trick is to keep the bait moving without going to deep. When the minnow makes a slight wake the speed is perfect.
A slight chop to the water makes for ideal conditions. Any imperfection in your technique will be magnified in glass like water. With a small chop cast into the wind as much as possible. The casts might not be as far but the topwater plug will have better action. Adjust the speed so that the plug has maximum action. If a redfish strikes at your plug continue on with the retrieve without pausing or changing speed. This is important. Redfish will miss topwater plugs a lot. What is awesome about these fish is even the misses are exciting do to the violence .