By CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
WHAT'S HOT: Redfish are starting to school in large numbers. During most of the summer, schools have held 25 to 50 redfish. These smaller schools are joining ranks and making pods that hold 200 to 300 fish. They are moving close to the mangrove shoreline during the incoming tide. During the peak of high tide most of the reds will move under the mangroves. This is when it gets difficult to locate the school.
You will need to use your trolling motor on low or a push pole and travel just outside the mangroves. Look under the branches for long dark shadows. When you locate the school, anchor the boat a little farther from the mangroves and cast your bait where there are openings in the branches. A corked rig will help you know where your bait is and give you a chance at pulling it away from the branches before the bait gets snagged.
SPAWN: Large schools of bait spawn are moving out of the bay and into the gulf. Places to target are Egmont Key and just outside the passes. Look for birds working the dark patches of water. Bonita, mackerel, jacks, ladyfish and tarpon will be feeding on the spawn. The spawn baits are ½-inch long and your lures should be the same size. If you do find tarpon rolling in the bait, switch to a live pinfish and free-line it where the tarpon roll. The spawn should stay around until the middle of August.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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