What's hot: The redfish in lower Tampa Bay are starting to school in large numbers. The past month had schools of 20-50. Some days, we can find schools of 200-300 reds. They don't always show on the flats, but when they do, the bite is on. Most redfish are 26-32 inches. The smaller reds are hanging in the mullet schools. If you can move close to the school without spooking them, they will stay and feed. When the school is spooked, they will keep swimming. And a redfish school on the move will seldom feed.
Tips: Redfish are feeding best on live and cut pinfish. Free-line the cut bait and rig the live ones under a cork. Work the edge of the school. A bait cast into the middle can spook the fish. The spawn of baitfish in the area has grown large enough to snag in a quarter-inch net. Throw the net as soon as you see pinfish. If you chum too long, the spawn will show and snag in the mesh. This is why they call the small spawn "net wreckers." Most larger threadfins have been hanging in 20 feet off St. Pete Beach. A Sabiki rig worked through the school will catch all the threadfins you need. If you want pinfish, work the bottom under the threadfin school.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.