The Tampa Bay Times

By Ed Walker

Super skinny water redfishing was very good during last weeks extreme tides. When the tide gets very low the fish have been “tailing” over grassy bottom in just a foot or two of water. The key to seeing lots of tailing fish, is the stage of the tide. The absolute best time is just after the very end of the outgoing tide. The fish will have all pulled back out of the shoreline and essentially be pinned out on the edge of the flats. At the first hint of incoming water tails will pop up all over the place. It can be truly amazing to be poling around seeing just a few fish and be suddenly surrounded with visible fish you didn’t even know where there. We call this the “golden hour” and it is the best it gets all day. Once the tide starts to cover the flats again the fish stop tailing and do move horizontal movements. You can still catch them then but it requires more blind casting of long range lures to simply cover some ground and hope your crank past one.

When they are tailing we have been using fly-rods to target them. It is extremely challenging to get close enough to the fish without spooking them, and even harder to put the fly in the right place for a bite, but when it all comes together it is a very satisfying experience. Of course, to move around in these areas it is helpful to have a super shallow draft skiff, jon-boat, or kayak. Wading also works but the water is so cold not you will need waders to make it tolerable.

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