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Captain's corner


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000

The first few weeks of autumn have large redfish schooling together for their annual push offshore.

To find these fish, go to your favorite flat and look for a big bulge of "nervous" water. Showering baitfish often will precede this crimson wave.

Once you've found these fish, cast your bait to lead the nearest front corner of the fish. That lessens the likelihood the fish will be scared when your offering hits the water or when you hook up. A cast into the middle of the pack often will spook and disperse the school.

Good natural baits for these fish include greenback, jumbo shrimp and pinfish under corks. Jigs, spoons, and topwater plugs also work well, but my favorite technique is casting a fly.

Try using a 7- to 9-weight rig with 8- to 12-pound tippet and 20- to 30-pound shock leader. Any color deceiver should produce, but popping flies are especially exciting.

Work the popping fly with short, sharp, frequent twitches. Once the fish has taken the bait, put plenty of pressure on it to remove it from the pack as quickly as possible. This will limit the chance of the other reds bumping into your line and causing you to lose your fish. It also will keep the rest of the school from getting spooked.

- Pete Katsarelis fishes out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 439-FISH.

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