What's hot: Redfish are beginning to school around the strong moon phases. There have been fewer redfish to target in North Pinellas, but as fall approaches, larger reds will move through the passes and onto the flats. Look for large wakes; redfish will forage on small crustaceans and pinfish. These schools can hold as few as 20 fish, but upwards of 200-300 have been common. Staying ahead of moving redfish can be challenging. Slinging out chum baits can stop them for a moment. Trolling motors can spook the fish, but are helpful when tracking fish long distances. Push poling or drifting is a quieter way to approach.
Bait: When targeting schooling fish, cast medium-sized pinfish under a cork. Lead the fish a few yards, and wait for a solid pull before reeling since tightly-grouped fish often bump the line as they swim by. Cut baits work well in the openings of mangrove shorelines. A small split shot keeps bait on the bottom and prevents floating and tangling in roots.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.