What's hot: Redfish schools have invaded the flats around Pinellas Point. On a low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. The fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish move on. When that school slows, I go to my next spot, where I can find the fish on the flat around oyster bars and mangrove shorelines.
Bait: I start early in the morning by throwing a 12-foot cast net under one of the many bridges. I pick the brightest light and throw on the down current side. The net will sink quickly away from the pilings, preventing it from getting caught on the bridge. Scaled sardines, threadfins, pinfish and Spanish sardines have been caught. Using a large cast net will fill the live well quickly. Spend a little extra money on a cast net. Black Pearl, West Coast and Lee Fisher make quality nets.
Tackle: I like to use a 2/0 circle hook when targeting reds. Redfish have thick skin around their mouth; this allows the circle hook to grab the corner once the line is tightened. Do not set the hook. Let the fish pull tight and start to reel. The hook will set itself.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.