Redfin – All You Need To Know

As tradition stands most of John Didge’s articles are about targeting bays and inlets around the country in search of big flathead and snapper. But to put together something a little different he thought ‘why not take a shot at the freshwater’.

Jig Man Jig Heads Australia is my company and as part of the business alot of testing is required. As the biggest manufacturer of weedless jigs in the country, it’s very hard to find locations to test our new designs to make sure they have the right stuff to make a difference. This is especially the case for the fisho picking up a jig head for the first time.

Spoilt For Choice


I often talk about how lucky we are in Geelong to have so much diverse types of fishing right on our door step, one of those locations dead smack in the middle of Geelong is he Barwon River Starting write up in the Otway’s some 100km from Geelong and finishing up at Barwon Heads down on the surf coast, it’s a magnificent stretch of water with an abundance of trout and redfin in the upper reaches in the Otway’s, less trout but plenty of redfin and an abundance of carp as you get closer to the city and not to far out of Geelong there is a small wall called the second break this is where the salt water starts, lake Connewarre and the run down to Barwon heads.

Andrew Macarthy nails this big Reddy on a snag near lake Eildon

Andrew Macarthy nails this big Reddy on a snag near Lake Eildon.


All About Redfin

Just a brief because this article is all about redfin but in future articles you will see me touch on the massive mulloway, trevally and bream and salmon that are prevalent in that part of the waterway.

This article is all about the part of my testing process using redfin as my quarry and the findings.

If I’m on the money I hope I can impart some new found knowledge that you can use in the Barwon or for that fact any place you might find redfin.

At this point though its worth saying that I have used the techniques I mention in this article on Bass, EP, Bream and in fact on just about any species.

It’s a matter of getting techniques right for the fish species you are targeting. My first choice in soft plastic and also what Jig Head I use is based on water clarity and what life I can see along the edges of the bank.

Even that saying (edges of the bank) has some meaning. Redfin time of the year is all year around but in the colder months the redfin tend to be a lot larger but few and far between and as the weather warms they become more prevalent in numbers but you find it a lot harder to get quality fish and at times it can be painful ton say the least sifting through the little stuff for a good fish.

Where To Look

Back to the edges of the bank, its amazing what information you can collect just by observing what the bait fish are doing, during the early morning and late evening you will pretty much always find all the bait fish up against the bank or in the grass, lily’s or deep in the snags during periods of low light but as the day grows and the sun gets higher in the sky the bait fish tend to stray and move all over the water way.

What’s amazing with Redfin is they are such a lover of warmer weather but when the sun goes high in the sky the redries go deeper into the middle of the water way and shut down.

Redfin Habits

Then sometime around 4pm, the fish will move up in to the fringes of the river and a tell tail sign that this is happening is by observing the bait fish. As the redfin move up near the bank to ambush feed the bait fish start to panic and take cover in, under and around anything they can find close to the banks or a snag and in the case where the bait fish are frantically doing circle work in the one spot then you know that Mr Redfin is down there so hit it hard pepper the area it may take a few casts but its worth the wait. As a soft plastic fisho the one thing I find hard to understand at times is why is it that when you throw a pink plastic down the Redfin go nuts for it, but I have to say I have never seen a pink bait fish.

Research Pays Off

This was a question I sort an answer to about 30 years ago and the source I chose was an old book first published back in the 70s about catching English Perch. In that publication it was said that with Redfin it was about contrast they are always looking for something different, an outstanding baitfish that looks injured or different than the rest. That was the answer that I was looking for, that book changed the way I did things. If I was to put my finger on a point in time that changed my fishing forever that was my turning point. When I chose soft plastics as my future in this sport, this would be it.

Blair Bryant was so happy with his SOSo caught Redfin.

Blair Bryant was so happy with his SOSo caught Redfin.


My first approach to or chosen plastic is all based on water clarity, mostly Redfin will hit anything but they do have preferences good rule of thumb to follow is if the water is clear use a more natural colour like silver greys a colour that reflects light and looks more like the Baitfish that are moving around the water way you have chosen to fish and of course pink. The interesting thing about targeting Redfin is that they are happy to take any Soft plastic most of the time that is moving during any part of the fall or retrieve, in saying this its still important to get your colour selection right. You might say to me, but you just said any colour will work and that maybe true but the difference in getting the colour right or not, this will be the difference between catching 1 fish or 10 fish.

Closer Than You Think


Early on in the article I talked about how the Redfin would move up close to the edge around the fringes during low light conditions, these generally occur during early morning and late evening but low light can also include humid cloud covered days.

Most people cast as far as possible when they start there fishing and tend to forget what’s is right down at there feet.

It’s worth saying at this point that nearly all my Redfin Success has been within a few meters of the bank, so don’t be afraid to run your soft plastic along the edge and in around all the cover and structure around you may not even need to cast.

Just keep dipping the Jig in and out of the weeds. The good part of this technique in the weeds and snags is you will catch lots of fish the bad side is that you have in one motion cancelled out all forms of our sport except weedless Jigs. Well not cancelled out, tackle stores will love how much gear you will lose in the snags.

I think i need a shave but this  Barwon redfin didn't care.

I think i need a shave but this Barwon redfin didn’t care.


Imparting Action

When it comes to action the special part is pretty much the same as most other soft plastic situations move it slow.

A good way of getting the action right is to use what I call lift and swim action with your soft plastic, its fairly easy to impart and with just a few minutes practice you will be in the zone.

Once your Jig Head has hit the bottom the action is as simple as very short sharp jabs covering only inches in the retrieve then take up the slack line and allow the Jig Head to slowly swim through the water under its own weight.

You can tell if your hitting the mark when the line slowly swims back towards you as it falls back to the bottom and then go through the process again and again.

Looking ‘Through’ The Water

A good pair of polaroid glasses will help you in this situation. I have always found that the one common response period with the humble redfin is always when the plastic or Lure is movin.

I have never known them to take your artificial of the bottom, so understanding this tells me to fish lighter and allow your Jig Head more time in the water Colum hens in the face of Fish but there is a second part to this story and that is that because they like action or moving baits its safe to say that a Soft Plastic with its own action is likely to have a better response for example paddle tails or wrigglers.

Well Balanced Baits


There isn’t a great deal of specialist needs when targeting reddies just the right plastics to match the Jig Heads you are using and with pocket full of jigs and few bags of plastics your on your way. But here are a few very important points of knowledge to help you results.
Fish close to the bank rather than cast out to the middle especially if the bank drops sharply into the water.
Try to run parallel with the snags and grasses; reddies like to lay tight up against them.

This Redfin hammered this Blue ash worm.

This Redfin hammered this Blue ash worm.


In the invent that there are drains running into the river or lake most of the Redfin will congregate where ever the water flow hits a snag or weed bed. (Where there is minimal structure they will feed near the end of sharp or fast flow areas).
Look at the baitfish if they are doing circle work that means there are Redfin in the area and try to match the baitfish colour and size.
I hope I have helped you catch more fish but don’t be afraid to use these same techniques for other species it may be the difference on you next fishing trip.

What The Pros Use

I always get asked what I use so here you go. I like to use the new Jig Man SOSo weedless Jig Heads in 2/0 and 3/0 in weights from 1/16oz – 1.5 grams up to 1/4oz – 7gram jigs my plastic tends to match what I see swimming in the water but I do like the Munro Blue Ash colour it looks just like a small galaxias Minnow colour. Pumpkinseed worms and Zman Grubs in motor oil also work great.

‘It’s rare for me to use a normal jig head unless I am confident that I am not fishing in the snags of grass … it never happens.’  John Didge



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