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Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Stalking tailing reds is exciting challenge on flats

What's hot: "Tailing" redfish have been seen all this past week on the outgoing tide as the water level gets lower on the flats. Catching these feeding redfish can be one of the most rewarding experiences of flats fishing. The tail of the redfish breaks the surface of the water as it buries its head in the sand or mud digging for crabs and shrimp. The tide has to be low enough for this to happen, and it requires patience on the part of the angler.

Approach: The water has become extremely clear on the flats in the Fort De Soto area. With clear water, and water so shallow that their tails stick out, reds become wary of what's happening around them. Use extreme care when approaching these reds. Wading to these fish is probably the easiest and least invasive way to get close enough to make an accurate cast. Go slow, pick a spot and walk slowly into a flat and wait for the fish to come to you. The less noise you make, the better.

Bait: Use a tail-hooked shrimp and bite off the last section of tail. This provides longer casts, and the scent comes off better. A shrimp will also 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 to 2 feet in front of the direction the fish is moving. Casting right next to the fish will spook it.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit

Captains corner: Stalking tailing reds is exciting challenge on flats 11/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 26, 2009 7:40pm]
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