The sun had just broken the treeline when I dropped the second Red of the day into the icebox. I had been fishing for about twenty minutes and had not even begin to sweat, despite it being midsummer in south Alabama. The best part about it, with it being so early, no one was around to compete for the fish that were eager to crush any bait presented to them.
If beating the heat does not have you convinced, maybe the top-water explosions from inshore fish like Speckled Trout and Redfish would be enough to convince you to get out of bed well before daylight. Top-water lures such as the Mirrolure Topdog worked in a “walk the dog” motion over shallow structures like sandbars or oyster beds tends to entice strikes when it is still dark out. Varying speeds and retrieval patterns are key to finding what the fish are hitting. Black or deep purple lures work well in low light conditions because they are easier to silhouette against the sky. If you are noticing a lot of fish short striking the lure, switch to a smaller top-water lure or a small suspending twitch bait like the Mirrodine by Mirrolure. The twitchbait is especially deadly on the short striking fish as they are more aggressive towards a subsurface lure than a top-water.
Another killer tactic to try when the fish are still in shallow water is fishing a popping cork. Corks that rattle like the Precision Tackle Cajun thunder Jr. help imitate the clicking of a shrimp on top of the water. This draws redfish from across the flats. Try fishing a live shrimp or an imitation like Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp to draw strikes from numerous inshore species.
As the morning wears on, fish move to deeper holes in search of cooler water. Look specifically for areas where the current rips past structures like sandbars or rock piles. Redfish get in deeper water to ambush the prey fish as they try to fight the current. Swimbaits or similar grubs on a light jig head flutter in the current into the strike zone of predatory fish. Another deadly tactic is Carolina rigging live baits, such as shrimp or Mullet, and bouncing them off the bottom in these deeper spots.
So the next time you hit the snooze button because you are afraid of the heat, imagine the top-water explosions of Spottails in the early morning sun and screaming drag of big Redfish in skinny water.