The Tampa Bay Times

Capt. Brent Gaskill

        Using cut-bait to catch redfish is no longer a secret.  For years the older guides would talk about using pinfish for redfish, which was not a lie. The part they left out was that they were using chunks of cut pinfish when everyone assumed it was a live pinfish.  This was back in the days when fishing guides were secretive about their spots and methods. A lot has changed over the years.  Normally using dead bait on the bottom in an inshore setting results in catfish. Surprisingly, when redfish are in the area there are very few to no catfish.  For this reason I’ve developed a three catfish rule.  If I catch three catfish without catching any redfish I pick up and move to a new location.  The majority of the red fishing I do is with cut-bait.  I learned the technique from my uncle, who learned it from my grandfather.  Pinfish, ladyfish, and threadfin herring, are my favorites as they are the easiest to acquire.  Mullet will also work superbly but takes a little more effort.   A bonus to using cut-bait that a lot of people don’t realize is that snook also like a fresh piece of dead-bait lying on the bottom.  Right now, many of the same oyster bars, spoil islands, and mangrove shorelines that are holding redfish are also frequented by snook meaning both species can be caught from the same location using the same baits.  Please carefully release these fish as our Tampa Bay area is in desperate need of a recovery period for these species to rebuild their stock levels.