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By ED WALKER
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001
Inshore fishing is showing signs of improvement. The water temperature is slowly moving toward 60 degrees, and that means better fishing. Trout should become more active, and redfish should start to return to the flats. Both should be more willing to bite than during our extended cold-water period. Live shrimp remains the bait of choice for reds.
Take advantage of clear conditions and try sight-casting to tailing reds at low tide. When the tide comes in, redfish move into extremely shallow water to feed. This is when they are easiest to find. They often will stick their tails out of the water while they root around in the grass for food. If you don't have a skinny flats boat, a canoe or kayak will work as well or better. Wading probably is most effective for the extra-spooky fish.
Trim the tail off a live shrimp. Cast a good distance past the tailing fish and skim the bait across the surface to keep it out of the grass, slowing as you near the fish. Once you are close, let the shrimp drop into the grass. It will be stuck, but if you have it close enough, the redfish should smell it.
You won't catch large numbers this way. You will spook many more than you hook, but you will appreciate the ones you land.
- Ed Walker charters out of Palm Harbor. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail TarponEd@aol.com.