Redfish are extreme predators.

Able to hunt down, corral and destroy schools of baitfish and crunch hard-shelled blue crabs as if they were cardboard, reds are the thugs of inshore fishing. And like other vicious predators, they use “edges” to aid them in their destruction.

“Edges” are transition zones from one kind of habitat to another and are areas where crabs, mullet and other baitfish congregate in large numbers. One of the best edge areas is a seagrass flat. These flats may cover thousands of acres, but the fish will hold in specific spots within it. Key to catching redfish in a massive seagrass flat is finding the pockets of sand scattered throughout. These pockets create the desired “edge effect.”

One effective rig for these seagrass flat redfish is a soft-plastic swimbait on a 1/8-ounce jighead under a Paradise Popper X-Treme popping cork. The popping action of the cork lures in the reds and it is easy to cast long distances. Reds in the shallows are notoriously spooky so long casts often are critical.

Start fishing by popping the cork hard three times and letting it sit for a few seconds. If this doesn’t work, pop it twice and let it sit for as long as five seconds, then repeat the process.

The most popular method for fishing a seagrass flat, however, is a topwater walking plug like a Spook. Chugging or splashing plugs like the Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper can also be effective. You simply pull down on them and they make a loud splash or chugging sound. Throw the lure, pop it twice, let it sit for 5 seconds, reel it in a few feet, pop again and repeat the process. Most of the time the fish will hit during the 5-second gap between pops.

Sometimes fish just won’t commit to a topwater, often when it’s dead calm in clear water. This is when a slow-sinking walking plug like the Badonk-A-Donk SS can save the day. This type of slow-sinking lure is perfect for spooky fish that won’t come up for a topwater.

Redfish are different than other predator fish because its mouth is angled low on the face, pointing slightly downward. If you watch closely when a redfish strikes you can see it turn slightly to the side to engulf a fish or bait that’s level or above their heads.

Anglers should always make striking the bait as easy as possible for the redfish by casting in front of (but not directly on) the fish. It may strike if it hears the bait behind it, but it’s more effective to cast so the fish can both see and hear the bait.

Two essential accessories for more effective fishing on a seagrass flat are a drift sock and a marker buoy. Because of their size, most anglers drift across a massive flat, and a drift sock slows your speed. The marker buoy is to be used when the fish show themselves. Because 90 percent of the fish may hold in only 10 percent of the flat, the marker buoy allows the angler to return to that spot.