What's hot: Redfish schools are large in the lower parts of Tampa Bay. Wind direction and water height play a big role in finding a school. A strong wind out of the north will make the tide much lower than predicted. It will also keep the incoming tide from reaching its highest point. In a few areas, you can target a school during these low tides. They do get a bit crowded with anglers, but if you come into the area slowly and wait for the bite to start, you'll have a good chance at hooking up.
Tackle: A 7- to 8-foot rod with a reel spooled with 10- to 15-pound braided line will give you long casts, needed to get close to reds without spooking the school. Reds in some areas respond to live chumming. When they do, free-line the baits. In other spots, reds respond to cut bait. Test the school with a few live whitebaits tossed near the school. If the reds strike, throw a few more into the school. Don't over-chum; it will attract the birds that like to dive on the baits and spook the school of reds into leaving.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.