What's hot: With an increase in tide levels around the last new moon, many larger redfish have showed up on the flats from Clearwater Bay north to the Anclote River. These fish are in schools of about 10 to 20 fish and moving in with the mullet as they flood the shallows. Most average up to 34 inches.
Technique: The most productive method of catching them has been placing a large pinfish under a cork and popping it to draw attention. Keep the bait closer to the cork (about 18 inches), and the pinfish will keep trying to swim down, thus staying in the strike zone longer without getting buried in the grass. As the tide floods the mangrove shoreline, the reds will hunt in the shade. This is where precision casts are necessary. Work the pockets in the trees where free-lined baits can get a couple of feet back under overhanging limbs. Once hooked up, keep the rod tip below the water surface to prevent the line from tangling in the branches.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.