What's hot: Redfish numbers are rising; schools that weren't there a couple weeks ago now seem to be on flats, often nearest the passes. Some schools are large, with more than 100 fish. We have also encountered smaller schools of jumbo reds roving in packs of 20-50.
Tactics: Finding these fish can be difficult but sometimes it can be as obvious as spotting the "tsunami" pushing along the edge of the flat, most often at lower tide stages. When you can't see the fish, you'll have to rely on other signs. If you see terns hovering and dipping down to pick food off the water occasionally, they most likely are following redfish. At times these fish have been quite a bit deeper, in 4-6 feet, making them difficult to spot. Don't pass up dark splotches over the sand, or better yet keep your eyes open for unexplainable mud clouds, even if it's windy.
Tips: Having plenty of live pilchards will keep fish around the boat. Keep tossing them out as you catch fish; otherwise the school could move off. But fish will return; your boat is in their path so trying to chase them will make them nervous and less likely to feed.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 692-5868