South Shore Tampa Bay By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

Trick or Treat!

Fishing is similar in concept as Halloween, the more casts you make (doors you knock on) and the better your presentation the more chance you’ll have of catching more fish (getting candy).

In October the redfish start gathering together in large schools feeding on the grass flats. Whether you are using live bait or artificials you must make accurate casts in order to catch these reds.

Like Halloween your approach can be spooky, so be quiet. I push my boat over the flats until we reach the school of reds. Once the boat is in place I anchor electronically using duel Power Poles.

When approaching the school, try to go to where the reds will be rather than where the reds are. Predict the red’s direction by noticing the uneasy water and which way it’s going. I see so many anglers head right to where the school is rather than where the school is going to be and they end up playing cat and mouse with the school.

My nickname for the month of October is Red October, because we have more redfish action in October than any other month of the year. Below are some October tricks and treats for these reds.

When approaching the school of reds keep the wind at your back. You can cast twice as far and keep your distance from the spooky reds. When choosing what treat to use for schooling reds, it’s important to match the hatch.

Reds are some of the spookiest fish around, noise makes them spook quicker than anything. We express to our anglers as we’re approaching the school that they can’t talk as loudly as they’d like, slam any lids or hatches or even step/jump down from the tower or bow hard.

Once you Power Pole down and have the school in casting range, take your bait bat and chum. If seagulls or pelicans are not in the area, cripple your bait in the bat by twisting them thus breaking their backs. By crippling the bait first it slows the bait down and allows the reds to get into more of a feeding frenzy. If you do have birds flocking over or around the school, don’t cripple your chum because you don’t want baits gimping on the top of the water causing birds to dive down on the school.

With the right bait, stealthy approach and determination, we know you’ll catch many fish. Have a happy Red October!

For a charter with Captain Joel Brandenburg visit or call him at 813-267-4401 or find him in person at Hooks Waterfront Grill at Little Harbor Resort in Ruskin Fl. For information on the Ana Banana Kids Fishing Camps visit