What's hot: Huge schools of bull redfish in the 20-30 pound range have caused us to stop on our way offshore to target barracuda, kingfish, Spanish mackerel and grouper. The redfish schools have been 2-4 miles offshore from Redington Beach to Pass-a-Grille, willing to strike almost any live or artificial bait. There are several indicators in locating the fish aside from the obvious churning of the water when they're attacking a school of baitfish. If you're lucky enough to spot two or three frigate birds above some terns diving into the water, you can be assured that redfish are below the terns. One frigate bird above the terns usually indicates that bonita are below.
Tactics: We've been using a gold King spoon 30 feet behind a No. 2 planer and a medium spoon behind a No. 1 planer. These fish are so powerful that using a small spoon or plug results in straightened hooks. We also have a large shallow-running plug rigged on a medium spinning outfit at the ready. Once the fish are located, double hookups on the planer-equipped rods are common. We've seen as many as a dozen other fish pursuing the hooked fish and casting the plug to them has resulted in epic battles on the lighter tackle. These fish are well over the redfish slot limit and must be carefully released. Also, because of their size, it's best to keep the fish in the water while removing the hook and photographing them.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or (727) 397-8815.