What's hot: Full-moon tides have helped to bunch up schools of redfish. Sizable schools of mostly over-the-slot-limit (18 to 27 inches) redfish appear to be moving in and out of the passes and frequenting the grass flats and sand shoals around them. This is a prespawn pattern that occurs every year at this time.
What to look for: This redfish scenario differs from that of the typical flats redfish pattern, where you might target mullet schools as you quietly stalk the shallows. These fish seem to be constantly moving and generally found in deeper water. Drop-offs along the edges of the flats where the water abruptly goes from a couple feet deep to 4 to 6 feet are the places to look. If the reds are holding near the surface and the water is clean, look for a small area of rust-colored water. If the fish are moving along the bottom, look for clouds of mud that might seem out of place.
Tactics: These fish seem to be feeding aggressively on both artificial lures as well as live bait. If you can visually see the school, try running a shallow twitch bait or a gold spoon over the top of them, this usually results in a competitive feeding situation that will almost always result in a strike. Live baiters will have a better chance at holding the fish in place by tossing plenty of live pilchards for chum. If the fish are holding deep, a live pinfish is hard to beat.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.