Well, today is the first day of Fall. It may not mean much to you but I’m excited about it. Fall is my favorite time of year to catch my favorite type of fish. Redfish. These strong fighters are starting to school up and that means that we’ll have plenty of opportunities to have double digit days of over slot redfish.
This week the reds are already starting to show signs of getting into their fall patterns. They’re grouping up by the hundreds along St. Pete’s shallow grass flats and near river mouths in New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs. If you approach these fish stealthily enough, you’ll see that they are “happy” fish. “Happy” redfish are fish that are rolling and giving off a distinctive bronze flash as their scales reflect the sun. They do this because they are feeding. Redfish are designed to be natural bottom feeders an as such their mouths are close to the bottom of their head. So when they attack fleeing baitfish, crabs or shrimp, they often have to roll on their sides to position themselves to feed.
Such was the case this week when my clients and I were looking for a school of redfish. We looked around for a while and worried that he school had moved off but it wasn’t long before I could see the bronze mirrors flashing as us. The first bait that we tossed into the water was hit immediately and a healthy over slot 10lb redfish was soon posing for a picture.
As this Fall season progresses, the redfishing should just get better and better. Look for clean water on turtle grass flats in 2 feet of water or less and look for them flashing happily as they feed. As always, the wind will be a regular factor this fall so try to use it to your advantage. Approach the fish from up wind and make as little noise as you can. If you can keep the school “happy” by staying quiet and feeding them a steady stream of chummers (wounded live bait that you can throw out to get the fish turned on) you should be able to keep the school in one spot for 2 or more hours of a good bite.
Tight lines and leave some fish out there for me!