What's hot: September in Tampa Bay means redfish. Every year from August through mid November, schools of spawning fish can be seen moving through the shallow grass flats near the cuts and passes that lead to the gulf. Intense pressure from anglers makes these fish hard to catch, unless you employ a few tricks, like Ed and Greg Eloshway did recently.
Tactics: Stealth is key. Poling with the wind at our backs, we quietly slipped into an area next to a mangrove island and lowered the anchor without making a splash. For bait we used mullet cut into strips about 3 inches long and an inch wide. We also chummed with some smaller mullet pieces just to put a little stink in the water to draw the fish to us.
Both anglers used a simple and effective setup: 15-pound braid line, 20-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 2/0 hook.
They cast into the area we chummed, and it wasn't long before Ed was hooked up and brought a slot-size fish (18 to 27 inches) to the landing net. The next cast for Ed resulted in the same.
Then Greg hooked up, and by the way the fish wallowed on the surface, it looked like it might be above the slot range. Eventually Greg brought the red to the net, and just as we suspected, it was too big to keep.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.