What's hot: With spring weather beginning to settle in along our west coast, many gamefish are working the grassflats on flooding tides. The late afternoon high tides will have redfish pushing up onto the flats on high water and feed heavily amongst the mangroves roots. These fish are foraging on the small crustaceans that are getting flushed out by large mullet schools working in and out of the cover. This feeding highway also is shaded by mangroves and at midday will be considerably cooler. The overhanging branches are the main obstacle when trying to catch fish out of the bushes. Openings with a canopy of limbs can make placement of baits easier.
Tackle: Fluorocarbon leaders in the 30- to 40-pound range are needed to help against the abrasion when the line comes in contact with the tiny barnacles that grow on the roots. Keeping the rod low or even placing the tip down in the water will help gain the needed angle to pull reds out of trouble. A stiffer rod and tightening the reel's drag can help anglers when a bruiser eats way back up in the trees. Smaller tail-hooked pinfish will swim back into the shade and get more strikes.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.