What's hot: Tailing redfish can provide one of the most rewarding catches of all flats species. It takes patience, time and more patience to wait out these wary feeders. The tail of the redfish comes out of the water because it has its head buried in the sand digging for crabs and shrimp. The tide must be low enough for anglers to see the tail out of water.
Approach: The water has become clear on the flats around Fort De Soto. With clear water, and water so shallow that their tails stick out, reds become wary. Extreme care must be taken when approaching them. Wading to these fish is probably the easiest and least invasive way to get close enough to make an accurate cast. Push-poling a small flats skiff is another method for approach. Reds can feel the pressure of the boat when pushed too fast. Move the push pole slowly and do not push hard, causing the pole to make noise on the bottom.
Bait: Use a tail-hook shrimp, biting off the last section of the tail. This provides longer casts and scent to come off the shrimp. A shrimp will land softer on the water, which helps in not spooking the redfish. Figure out which way the head is pointing and make a cast 1-2 feet in the direction the fish will likely move. If you cast it right next to the fish, it will be spooked and go away.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at captainrobgorta.com or (727) 647-7606.