St. Pete has long been known as one of the premier vacation destinations in the world with its white sandy beaches, temperate climate, renowned restaurants, and laid-back lifestyle. However, St. Pete’s “icing on the cake” is the area’s outstanding coastal fishery highlighted by incredible backcountry red fishing that’s second to none.
Targeting Backcountry Redfish
Although the St. Pete fishery is full of dense populations of reds, you’ll have the best shot at landing the most fish by following a few simple tips, tricks, and local secrets that will put you in the best position for success.
Focus on High Percentage Areas for Inshore Reds
The St. Petersburg waters present a vast amount of area to cover and, at first glance, can seem overwhelming. The key to locating redfish here is targeting high percentage spots that make logical sense for reds to hold in.
The best spots are usually found in shallow waters close to obvious structures. It’s common for channel bass (redfish) to be found in two to five feet of water or even shallower.
Shallow flats near lines of mangroves are a primary high percentage habitat for Florida redfish.
Rivers and creeks are great areas to check as well, especially as they relate to tidal movements. Underwater vegetation is a hotspot for reds looking to feed, so keying in on grass flats pays huge dividends. Oyster bars are feeding zones for reds and deserve plenty of attention as well.
Use Electronics to Your Advantage
Electronics play a huge role in offshore fishing but can be overlooked as a shallow water asset. Using side-scan on your graphs to identify common holding spots can be a game-changer for shallow water inshore anglers looking for structures like ditches and grass lines.
Additionally, new forward-facing (live) sonar can play a special role in shallow water fishing. Live graphs see fish as they are moving instead of as static objects.
Live sonar can be a fantastic tool to search for fish when fish suspend in a bay or other open water setting. Scanning with live for the presence of fish can eliminate dead water and help to narrow down your search from large expanses to higher percentage areas.
Stay on the Move Until You Find the Stash
One mistake that many red fishermen make is locking onto an unproductive spot for too long. Being on the move is a good thing, especially on the front end of a fishing day when you first try to locate fish.
Try putting the trolling motor on high until you find high percentage areas or clear signs of redfish activity.
Reds tend to move through certain areas for obvious reasons. Once you have identified those spots, slow down and pick apart those areas with a fine-tooth comb.
Understanding the Tides in St. Pete is Key to Catching Redfish
In general, the best fishing happens when tides are moving. Slack (no tidal movement) is typically an unproductive time to fish. Moving water ignites inshore redfish and is critical to your success. Be sure to key in on times when the tide is right for a more active coastal redfish bite.
Follow the strategies above on your next redfish outing in Florida to increase your odds of getting bites and landing fish. Charter a St. Pete local inshore fishing guide for unique insight and great insider secrets with an all-inclusive redfish trip.
Captain Jordan of Non-Stop Fishing Charters has over 20 years of experience fishing the inshore waters of St. Petersburg, providing him with local expert knowledge that he is ready to share with clients so they can make the most of their fishing experience.
So get in touch with him today to get on the water soon for the best red fishing trips on the west coast.