Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will move deeper into the flat toward shorelines with mangroves and oyster beds. I work the school carefully and try to catch as many as I can. When that school slows down, I go to my next spot to catch different species. I start early by throwing my 12-foot cast net under one of the many bridges. I pick the brightest light and throw on the downcurrent side. The net will sink quickly away from the pilings, preventing it from getting caught on the bridge. Scaled sardines, threadfins, pinfish and Spanish sardines have all been caught in the net. Using a large cast net will fill the live well quickly. A custom cast net will open every time when the right technique is used to throw it. I like to use a 2/0 circle hook when targeting reds. Redfish have thick skin around their mouth; this allows the circle hook to grab the corner once the line is tightened. Do not set the hook; let the fish pull tight and just start to reel. The hook will set itself.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.