Kayak fishing for Redbreast

Kayak fishing for Redbreast

Most anglers grew up chasing some sort of panfish with a cane pole or rod and reel. Some of us still enjoy chasing a mess of them from time to time. Beautiful colors, fun to fight, and excellent table fare are just a few of the reasons not to neglect these fish.

My favorite panfish is the redbreast sunfish. It is a river bream that can be found in deep runs, shallow riffles, and small tributaries all over the Southeast. These territorial sunfish will attack anything that gets near their nesting area, and catching them on bass-sized lures is pretty common. They will worry your soft plastic lures to death, and the staccato tapping is pretty easy to distinguish.

Anglers targeting the redbreast can go as low-tech as a bucket of crickets with a #10 hook and split shot, or break out a small artificial for a real treat. In my experience, lures will account for the larger fish since they tend to weed out the dinks. My favorites would be a 1/16oz inline spinner in white if the water is clear, or fire tiger if there is any color to it. Right behind the spinner on my list would be a small minnow-type lure cranked slowly just beneath the surface.

Fly fishing really brings out the best of the redbreast, and rods in the 3wt class are an absolute blast to fish with. Weight-forward floating line is perfect for these scrappy critters. Any popper or foam body fly will work for topwater action, and yellow is by far my favorite. A popper/dropper type setup with a beadhead dropper will result in multiple hookups a lot of the time. For dry flies, any large fly that mimics a moth or grasshopper is a good place to start. When the large mayflies are hatching, the topwater bite is vicious.

Redbreasts are prolific breeders, and make a great sustainable fishery for those who like to fry up a batch of fish from time to time. These fish are thick-shouldered, and it will not take many to make a fine eating mess. They are a perfect fish for young and older anglers alike. If it has been a while since you chased them, do yourself a favor and get after it!

Posted by
Arthur G. Moore

Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.

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