What's hot: The higher tides of summer are beginning to show up and have led to redfish schools feeding strongly on the peak in and around the mangroves. These fish will predominantly use the increased water height as a tool for trapping bait and crabs against the roots. Thirty-pound leader and medium/heavy rods can help to slow the inevitable breakoffs that come with this type of combat fishing. Lower casts under the brush are needed to persuade reds to feed. A tail-hooked pinfish with a heavy split shot will usually swim into the ambush zone and become nervous as the predators swim by. When a redfish school enters the mangroves along a certain stretch, more catches will stimulate the rest of the fish into a feeding frenzy.
Tackle choices: When fishing around mangroves and docks, braided line holds up well when fish are fighting among abrasion-encrusted pilings and roots. Thirty-pound braid has enough power to get gamefish into open waters to land them safely.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 439-9017.