What's hot: The full-moon tides offer a great opportunity to stalk tailing redfish in just a few inches of water. Good numbers of reds have been moving onto the flats and feeding on the last third of the falling tide. Late-afternoon lows when things have cooled and a sea breeze has kicked in have been the most productive.
Tactics: Wade fishing is your only choice as the fish may be in water of 8 inches or less. Look for flats with large areas of manatee or shoal grass. The heavy cover of turtle grass makes it nearly impossible to work baits. Flats with sandy areas are also good choices.
The reds have been moving up on the flats feeding into the falling tide then feeding with the tide in the final stage of the fall. Look for the slightly deeper areas that run well into the flat. These subtle depressions give the reds an exit off the flat and are prime feeding lanes.
Tackle: This low-tide fishing is a fly-rodder's dream. Using small crab, shrimp or streamer patterns allows you to present the offering close to the feeding fish. Spin casters will need to cast 15 to 20 feet beyond the fish so the splash of the bait doesn't spook the reds.
Tip: If you go by boat, leave it anchored in water deep enough to make your escape. Full- and new-moon tides will drain a flat dry.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.