Captain’s Corner: Redfish starting to return to the flats

Published January 31 2018
Updated February 1 2018

Small redfish schools are starting to work their way back onto the flats. I came across schools of reds on two charters last week. I hope this marks the start of redfish season. High afternoon tides will make it easier to get close enough to the schools. I have been starting out in the morning on low tides by working the edges of sandbars and flats all around Pinellas point. Casting quarter-ounce jigs rigged with soft plastic tails has produced many species. Trout, bluefish, ladyfish, pompano and jacks have provided fast action. The key to success is to work as much water as possible. Once the tide gets high enough, I work my way onto the flats looking for reds. Clear water and lower tides can make reds spook easily. I have had to take great care in approaching schools. I slowly work my way onto a flat and wait for reds to come to me as the tide rises. If fish run into bait on their own, they almost always eat what you offer. Once the tide is almost at its highest, I move to where I have caught reds in the past. Reds will eat just about anything when the presentation is right. If the tide is low, I like to use shrimp. Itís is easy to cast and lands softly on the water; this is key to not spooking reds. If the tide is high, pinfish, greenbacks, whitebaits, finger mullet and creek chubs work.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit