The No. 1 mistake anglers make when targeting redfish is they make too much noise. Once you enter an area where there are fish, move the boat as slowly as possible. If you move the boat too fast, it creates a "push" and alerts the fish. A push pole allows you to move the boat as fast as you want and still have control. If you see fish, then you can spike into the bottom and stop.
My bay boat has a trolling motor. I use the lowest setting possible to move the boat slowly. If I use a higher setting to go faster, then the noise from the motor will spook the redfish. If you do spook the school, watch the fish from a distance and allow them settle down. Then start over trying to position the boat within casting range.
I start around a shoreline lined with oyster beds. Mullet schools also in the area is a good sign. Usually redfish hang around the mullet; I think mullet foraging on the bottom for algae stir up shrimp and crabs, creating easy prey for the redfish.
Once I enter my favorite area, I always arrange the boat upwind to allow for long casts. Don't try to get too close.
Redfish will eat just about anything. If the fish are being finicky, I like to use shrimp. They are available at bait shops and land softly on the water. Pinfish, whitebait, threadfin herring and grunts will all work well when reds are not as spooky and are in the mood to eat anything.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.