The Tampa Bay Times

Redfish schools are starting to show up on the flats around Pinellas point. I start early in the morning by throwing my 12-foot cast net under one of the many bridges.  I pick the brightest light and throw on the down current side.  The net will sink 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 cast net.  A quality cast will pay for itself, catching more bait, saving money at the bait shop.  With low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar.  Every grass flat has an outer edge usually consisting of sand formed from tidal currents.  Redfish will roam around on this outer edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level starts to rise, the fish will move onto the grass flat. I will try to locate the school and quietly follow them. The school has a pattern that it follows, if you do not interfere with this pattern, Redfish will usually cooperate and eat. I like to use a 2/0 circle hook when targeting reds, they 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.   

Captain Rob Gorta


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