Tough trip: On a recent trip, our first day on the water was tough. The sky was overcast, and the redfish were difficult to see. You had to get within 15 feet of the school to see the fish. The time it took to drop the hook got the boat close enough to spook the school. We then searched again until we spooked the school. This went on most of the morning with only three reds to show for the effort.
Better outing: The next day had clear skies and perfect conditions to sight the school. Running the edge of the dropoff, we found a large school of reds just inside the grass. There were 200 to 300 fish that turned the water orange. For the next three hours, we caught reds on every cast. When the tide was low, cut pinfish became the bait of choice. During the peak of the high tide, a corked live pinfish produced better than cut bait. This school had some of the larger reds on the flats. All the fish were 32 to 38 inches.
Moving on: The school will leave our area in late October and join breeder schools in the gulf. They will not return to inshore areas. Come late March or early April, we will get a new school of redfish. This process repeats every year. The fun part is finding the new school and learning the habits of the fish.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.