© St. Petersburg Times, published October 28, 2002
The fall fishing has anglers seeing red on Tampa Bay. After a slow summer for redfish, they have made up for lost time. Roving schools have been working the shorelines of upper Tampa Bay as well as the Weedon Island area. Patience is key when looking for reds on the flats this time of year; they are on the move. On a recent trip, fishing was quiet until a big push of mullet came down the mangrove shoreline. With them were numerous reds. We were able to catch beautiful slot and overslot fish for an hour.
Circle hooks work well when fishing on the flats. Few fish will be gut-hooked, and few will be able to shake off. They are awkward to use at first, but the results are worth it. They are especially helpful with beginning anglers because you do not set the hook, just reel. When the normal reaction to a strike is to cross the fish's eyes, it is sometimes difficult to remember to not set the hook.
Live bait and gold spoons are producing nicely in Tampa Bay. Greenbacks, pinfish and shrimp are the best available live bait. When using a gold spoon, cast far and reel just fast enough to keep it off the bottom. They are an effective tool when looking for fish. Standard float rigs are easy to use for live bait and catch consistently.
-- Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 831-0355.