What's hot: As the tides become higher, many redfish schools are growing in size. Most in north Pinellas are mid slot with oversized ones mixed in. It is the time of year most anglers desire as 15-pound fish can be caught in water shallower than 2 feet. These larger numbers of fish will flood the flats as the tide rises and feed on the abundance of different bait.
Tactics: The most common meal for these game fish is a silver dollar-sized pinfish. It makes for an easy meal, and there are plenty mixed in with the mullet schools. A great artificial is a single-hook weedless gold spoon that can be fan cast in all directions. This will resemble a fleeing baitfish, and reds will strike it aggressively. While working a spoon back to the boat, change speeds and depth to find the sweet spot that brings the bite. Once hooked, the redfish will often "mud" up the bottom and give away where the rest of the school is. It makes for a great time of year for sightcasting these bronze bruisers.
Help through the air: A good bird dog for finding schools of fish in the spring are ospreys. These high-diving birds locate the mullet schools long before anglers. Where there is mullet, there are sure to be redfish.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.