First location: At sunup, when the tide is low, we have been working the drop-off on the edge of the flats. For rigs, we use a float-and-jig combination. The trick is to work the float and don't worry about the jig. When you pop the cork hard, trout and ladyfish will move toward the sound. What they find is a jig jumping under the surface. This lets them feel safe to strike it. When the jig is close to the surface, most fish are hesitant to strike.
Most trout are in areas where the bottom is a mixture of grass and sand. The ladies hang over areas that have mostly sand. We want to keep three or four ladies to use as bait for the redfish.
Next location: When the tide starts to cover the oyster bars, we'll move to the flats and look for the flash of redfish. Moving slowly with the trolling motor on low, I look for surface movement, copper color and flashes with a bronze hue. When we locate reds, we drop the power pole and cast free-line chunks of ladyfish on the edge of the school. Done properly, they will smell the cut bait and feed without spooking the rest of the school.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.