How To Catch Spooky Fish (Even After You’ve Scared Them Off)


Picture this:

You’re slowly creeping along the flats, looking for any sign of redfish…

Then all of a sudden, you see a wake take off away from your boat.

A fish was right next to you and you spooked them off before you could cast to them!

Has that ever happened to you?

It’s so frustrating!

But here’s the good news: even if you spook off fish, you can still catch them.

In the video below, you’ll see exactly how to do that.

Let’s dive in!

How To Catch Spooky Fish [VIDEO]

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When it comes to fish behavior, there are generally two types of fish:

Fish that are holding in an area and fish that are just passing through.

Here’s why this is important:

If you spook fish that are holding in an area because there’s food around or the temperature is comfortable, then you’re in luck.

They’ll probably settle down not too far away and you can still catch them.

But if fish are just passing through and you spook them, then you probably won’t catch them.

This is because they’ll keep on traveling and if they sense you following them, they’ll know something is wrong and won’t eat.

How Long To Wait For Fish To Settle Down

A common question is, “How long do I have to wait for fish to settle down after I’ve spooked them?”

This is a tough question and there’s no definitive answer.

I’ve had fish basically run into my kayak and spook off, but then as soon as they slowed down I pitched my lure to them and caught them.

On the other hand, I’ve had to come back an hour later once they’ve settled down to catch them.

Here’s a good rule of thumb I like to use:

If you spook a fish and you see them take off, but then slow down and turn rather quickly, then you have a shot at catching them.

But if you have to chase them down, you probably won’t catch them

Best Lure To Catch Spooky Fish

Once fish have been spooked, they’ll be on high alert, so you don’t want to throw a big, loud lure.

I like to keep things light and simple.

A jerk shad, small paddletail, or shrimp lure are great for these types of situations.

And when you rig them, you don’t want a loud, heavy jig head.

I like to use a 1/8 or 1/16 oz. jig head or weighted hook.

Below are the lures and hooks I like to use.




best fall fishing lures

If you accidentally spook fish off, no worries — you still have a shot at catching them.

If they quickly settle down, then pitch your lure to them.

But if they shoot off and you can’t see them anymore, then don’t try to chase them down because that’ll probably spook them even more and they won’t eat.

Have any questions about catching spooky fish?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who wants to catch more shallow-water redfish, trout, or snook, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Jose Zendejas
2 years ago

Great video, great info & tips. Yup that has happened to me plenty of times.

Pat Ogletree
2 years ago

You’re the master at this! I’ve maybe been able to convert one or two of those spooked off fish to catches. But I’ll keep trying every time. Nice tips in there.

Andy Benedict
2 years ago

Thanks Tony….great info!

David Wamsley
2 years ago

Hi Tony: Excellent video of how to catch them. It looks like you were in pretty shallow water. About how deep? Looks like you have a Jackson Kayak with Pedals. I am looking to add pedals to my Kayak, can you tell me about the pedals that you have please. Also, are they reversing?
Thanks and keep those types of videos coming!

David Wamsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks again Tony. I was considering the Hobie Mirage 180 pedals and I will probably go with them after your comment above.

Sam Craparo
2 years ago

Curious if dolphins come feed in your spot or bonehead in a personal watercraft decides to buzz your spot. If you were catching fish would you pack up and move or wait and how long would give it to settle.

Vincent C Ruggiero
2 years ago

Hey Tony, I know this post is a bit disjointed from the topic but, Do you love your kayak or would you ideally like another brand? I am very much in the market and have done a fair amount of research. Hobbies are sweet but heavy and the PA is a bit too much in many ways. Any suggestions? I am not looking for beginner kayak, my Native is fairly decked out but just too slow in salt water (best vessel ever in fresh water). Thank you Much!!

John Hardiman
2 years ago

Great job Tony!!

Adam Bailey
2 years ago

When did you get a Jackson kayak? New or just testing? I saw the bow color and thought…hey, that’s not beige…JK logo…!!

I see the Hobie now in the second part. So you’re seeing another kayak…that’s fine. Maybe the Hobie will see another angler too. Just sayin’.

Last edited 2 years ago by Adam Bailey
Adam Bailey
2 years ago

Slightly unrelated question…you named your kayak, right? I thought you piloted the Razor Crest. #ThisIsTheFish


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