By Danno Wise

When I was five, I regularly fished a lake in East Texas with my grandfather. He fished this lake almost every day and used only one lure, regardless of the time of year – a Cordell Redfin. As a result, this 4-inch floater/diver was also the very first artificial lure I cast.

In the nearly four decades that have passed since I first tied on a Redfin, it has been one of my “go-to” baits for a wide variety of species in both fresh and salt water. Half of those years have been spent earning a living as an outdoor writer and light tackle guide. Each of those jobs have regularly put me in situations where I “needed to get a fish.” More often than not I relied on a Redfin to get that fish.

Over the years I have fished a Redfin under a variety of conditions, although the lure excels in clearer water situations when fish are feeding visually. Likewise, I have also figured out a few different ways to work the bait to adapt to the various moods and behaviors fish are exhibiting at any given time.

Most often I rely on the standard twitch and pause – the “recommended” retrieve from what I remember being on the early packages. This easy-to-master retrieve allows anglers of all skill levels to effectively fish a Redfin.

Since the Redfin floats, it will always return to surface after it is paused. When it is twitched or reeled, the lip on the front of the bait causes it to dive. Anglers can twitch the bait with varying force to control how deep and/or erratically it dives. They can also vary the length of pause between twitches. The more aggressively the fish are feeding, the shorter the pause. Conversely, when fish are tight-lipped, the pause length should be extended.

When fish are suspended relatively shallow I use an underwater twitch and pause retrieve. This is essentially the same as what I described above – twitch the bait, pause and reel in slack while the bait begins its ascent, then repeat. The main difference is that I crank the bait to the desired depth before beginning the twitch-and-pause rhythm. And, I never pause long enough for it to return to the surface.

Another method I have found extremely effective is to wake the Redfin just below the surface of the water. This can be accomplished by holding the rod at a high angle and reeling slowly and steadily so that the bait dips just beneath the surface. The result is a fish attracting V-wake as the bait makes its way back. I often use this method for speckled trout and redfish on shallow flats, as well as black bass hanging around shallow grass beds and striped bass anytime.
While those are the three primary methods I use for fishing a Redfin, I often experiment and use other “situational” retrieves. When fishing around solid structure, I may use a bump and float retrieve – intentionally running the lure into objects, then allowing it to float up and over them. If speckled trout are holding along a shallow drop and being fairly aggressive, I may quickly crank the bait and keep it coming back at a quick clip. By changing the angle of the rod during the twitch and pause retrieve, I’ve also learned to essentially walk the Redfin as it dips and dives.

In short, I use a Redfin in just about any situation that calls for a topwater plug or shallow running crankbait. And, while it may not come with all the hype of some of the more recently introduced baits, it remains one of my favorite lures to use -- not just for nostalgia sake, but because it continues to be one of my top producers.