Now that the weather is significantly cooler and many of the summer storms are behind us fishing is at its best in Tampa Bay.
Redfish are the species to target now as they are making their fall presence known in a big way, large schools are all over our area. Focus on targeting redfish along mangroves during high tide, and on grass flats on the outgoing tides. Submerged oyster bars, and docks make for great fishing as well.
If you know of a few tricks and techniques you have a good chance at catching one of these hard fighting fish. Palm sized pinfish on a quarter ounce jighead hooked from underneath the tail, or a cut pinfish freelined will definitely produce good results. Scaled sardines work well also.
I recommend catching enough bait to use for chum as well as a few extra to actually fish with. 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 Barracuda Pro cast net to catch my bait. I can usually catch enough bait for a trip in one or two casts because of the ease of opening in the net design.
When it comes to tides, either an incoming or outgoing tide is good, essentially as long as the water is moving your good. These fish are looking for an easy meal so moving water is key. If you see mullet jumping or birds flying around picking off baitfish these are also excellent factors that mean fish are in the area, basically, the more activity on the water the better the chances of you hooking up with a red.
There is no doubt that redfish are king when it comes to muscle and long runs on the flats. Beauty and strength give reds their value as a highly sought after sportfish, not to mention the way they taste dipped in butter, and blackened with peppers.
When in search of these awesome bronze colored fish it helps to bring a friend along. At least that’s what seems to work for most of my clients, they have a blast together!