What's hot: Redfish are schooling in lower Tampa Bay. Some schools hold more than 200 reds. To catch them, stay with the school. When the tide rises or falls, the reds will slowly move across the flats searching for food. We set the boat in front of the school and wait for the fish to pass. A fresh-cut bait cast 20 feet in front will not spook the school and will give the fish time to smell the bait. As the school gets close to the bait, the fish will slow and stick their tails out of the water. This means they smell the bait and are putting their heads down to feed. Using circle hooks, let the line start moving before reeling and setting the hook. Use a push pole or trolling motor on low to follow the school.
Baits: Threadfins, pinfish, mullet and ladyfish are good cut baits. Check baits often to see if the pinfish have eaten them. In areas with few pinfish, use a large live shrimp. Tail-hook it to get more cast length.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.