South Shore Tampa Bay – Fall Redfish By: Capt. Christopher Taylor

With fall in effect and the weather being cooler, many anglers are looking to wet their lines as the new year starts to race by targeting winter time species. Redfish have made their way into Tampa Bay in great force. They are well known for their dominant presence during the spring and late summer months.

Redfish can be found at any of the South Shore grass flats, mangrove lines and oyster bars. I always head to my favorite backwater spots this time of year to find them. Redfish desire the same structure and environment as other inshore fish. A place to hang out and ambush baits passing by.

Choice baits to use are live shrimp and scaled sardines. These baits should be presented on a size 2/0 to 3/0 hook free-lined, or with a split shot. Some bait shops sell scaled sardines, but most of the time you have to use a cast net to catch them. I recommend catching enough to use for bait as well as a few extra for chumming. You will be able to find these baitfish at the channel markers and shallow-to-deep transition areas nearest boat channels. I use a 10-foot 3/8″mesh Humpback cast net to gather my bait. I can usually catch enough bait for a trip in one or two casts due to the ease of opening in the net design.

Take advantage of the cooler water temperatures, as the fish are more active in the shallows. You can sight cast or drift fish for redfish. I recommend throwing a Livingston Lures Pro Sizzle “Gold Digger” colored topwater lure. It is one of my top choice of artificials to use if you desire to cover a large area in a small amount of time.