Monday, April 1, 2013

Loaded Red Fins

Cotton Cordell's Red Fin has long been a top producer for surfcasters targeting striped bass in shallow waters where slender baitfish like sand eels are prevalent. Right out of the package, these inexpensive plastic swimming lures will catch their share of fish. However, a simple modification to this classic lure will greatly increase its casting (and catching) ability certain situations.

Red Fins are hollow and light, which make them not good casters. A stiff breeze in your teeth will render them pretty useless unless the fish are right in the wash. This is where loading the swimmers comes into play. "Loading" Red Fins with water, oil or shot will allow anglers to cast them much farther in snotty conditions. What to load them with and how much boils down to personal preference. Some prefer water because it's simple while others like oil because water evaporates too quickly. Some anglers choose shot due to the rattle it makes inside the lure.

Surf fishermen have been loading Red Fins and many other hollow-bodied lures for decades. One such surfcaster, Steve McKenna of Rhode Island, has experienced incredible success with loaded Red Fins over the years. I recently caught up with Steve at Rivers End Tackle and filmed him showing how he currently loads these proven fish-catchers. Another modification not shown is swapping out the cheap hooks and split rings that come on the Red Fin for stronger versions, which is highly recommended when targeting trophy striped bass.

A loaded Red Fin is just another tool for your toolbox. There will be times when using one will be completely unnecessary, but there will also be nights featuring a heavy onshore wind and striped bass gorging on sand eels where a loaded Red Fin will be just what the doctor ordered.



  1. Glad you put a post like this up. I believe it is these little tricks that stack up the bass. I always had great luck loading them with oil or water.

  2. Thanks, Savage. I plan to do more stuff like this in the future.