The Tampa Bay Times

Tailing redfish can provide one of the most rewarding catches of all the flats species.  It takes patience, time and more patience to sit and wait out these wary feeders.  The tail of the redfish comes out of the water because it has its head buried in the sand or mud digging for crabs and shrimp.  The tide has to be low enough so you see the tail coming out of the water.  I have seen “tailers” this past week on the outgoing tide as the water level gets lower on the flats, exposing the tail of these aggressive feeders. The water has become extremely clear on the flats around the Fort Desoto area.  With clear water, and water so shallow that there tails stick out, reds become wary of what’s happening around them.  Extreme care has to be taken when approaching reds.  Wading to these fish is probably the easiest and least invasive way to get close enough to make an accurate cast to these spooky fish.  Take your time, pick a spot, and wade slowly in the shallow water and wait for the fish to come to you.  The less noise you make, the better. I like to use a tail hooked shrimp, so I bite off the last section of the tail.  This provides longer casts, and scent to come off the shrimp.  A shrimp will also land softer on the water, which helps in not spooking the redfish.  I figure out what way the head is pointing, and make my cast one to two feet in the direction that I think the fish will move.  If you cast it right next to the fish, he will spook off. 

Captain Rob Gorta