September 11, 2013
Maximize scent and keep baits just off the bottom for backwater redfish and more.
The fireball float rig is a favorite among North Carolina surf casters chasing redfish, bluefish and flounder. It consists of two brightly painted styrofoam balls and two 3/0 to 5/0 baitholder hooks tethered by a light braided wire leader. The floats allow the bait—cut mullet, shrimp and the like—to drift several inches off the bottom in rough surf. A 3- to 5-ounce pyramid sinker runs freely on the main line by means of a fishfinder tube and swivel arrangement.
Based on that design, I've made a few changes to come up with a rig suitable for our shallow water, light tackle, back-bay and beach fishing in Florida. I call it the cherry bomb.
The cherry bomb is ideal for presenting live baits, cutbaits, shrimp, sandfleas and fiddler crabs in tannic or turbid water beneath mangroves, in
creeks and channels. It's particularly useful under windy conditions in our shallow waters that are prone to mudding up. This egg sinker bottom rig will help maintain your baits in that special hot spot.
Similar to the fireball rig, the cherry bomb suspends baits off the bottom, allowing the scent trail to disperse efficiently. Redfish are olfactory hunters and will track a scent trail (on that score, it's always a good idea to toss out some tidbits of shrimp or other bait to call them in).
Hovering near the bottom of the water column, brightly colored, baited hooks wiggle enticingly as they drift in the current. Bright, fluorescent-colored soft plastic grubs, swim baits, shrimp imitations or rubber worms may be cut into bite-size chunks and used in place of styrofoam balls.
The segments of plastic attractors can be from 1 to 2 inches in length. My favorite colors are hot pink and blaze orange; my guess is the fish interpret these colors as shellfish or possibly finfish blood, but other colors will do. Segments with little tendrils or wiggly legs are even better. Don't neglect using your damaged or leftover scented plastics like Gulp!, Slurps or Exudes in addition to your color pieces. The more scent, the merrier I say. - FS