Redfish schools have started to invade the flats. They seemed to have passed up the Skyway bridge area and headed right into upper Tampa Bay. On a low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish move onto the flat. When that school slows down, I will go to my next area where I can find the fish in my high-tide spots around oyster bars and mangroves shorelines. I start early in the morning by throwing a 12-foot cast net under one of the many bridges. I pick the brightest light and throw on the downcurrent side. The net sinks quickly away from the pilings, preventing it from getting caught on the bridge. Scaled sardines, threadfins, pinfish and Spanish sardines have all been caught in the net. Using a large cast net will fill the live well quickly. Spend a little extra money on a quality cast net, which opens perfectly and sinks fast to trap bait on the bottom. I like to use a 2/0 circle hook when targeting reds. Redfish have thick skin around their mouth; this allows the circle hook to grab the corner once the line is tightened. Do not set the hook, let the fish pull tight and just start to reel. The hook will set itself.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.