What's hot: Redfish schools are congregating on top of oyster beds or can be found underneath mangroves. I have noticed these schools are extremely sensitive to any kind of unfamiliar pressure so extra caution is needed when approaching. I use my trolling motor on the lowest setting. Move the boat slowly and have an anchor ready to deploy. Always arrange the boat with the wind at your back then stop the boat as soon as the first fish is seen. There is usually more fish in the area.
Bait: The summer spawn has produced a hatch of threadfin herring, scaled sardines and Spanish sardines. These baits are extremely small and will get caught in the cast net; I call them "net wreckers." Be careful netting bait around the Skyway piers as this area is loaded with new spawn. To locate larger baits I will drive around looking on my bottom machine in deeper water. The bigger baits show up as a thick cloud. If I see anything, I throw the cast net from the back of the boat where my transducer is located.
Tackle: Long casts are needed when redfish are spooky. I use 71/2-foot graphite rods with smaller 2000 series reels loaded with 10-pound braid. The light braided line combined with a longer rod with the wind at your back always produces farther casts. Twenty-pound camouflage leader with a 2/0 circle hook finishes the terminal tackle.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.