I was on my way to do a show with TTF Outfitters on wade fishing Tampa Bay when my phone rang. Rick was on the other end giving me directions to meet him the following morning at I.C. Sharks bait shop on Gandy Blvd. “We can put in there,” he explained, “and then make the quick boat ride down to Weedon Island and catch us some redfish”.
Tampa Bay Redfish you say? Say no more.
The next morning arrived and after a couple cups of coffee I made the drive to I.C. Sharks and met Rick. We jumped on the boat and navigated the long channel out to the bay and then over to Weedon Island. We motored up until we were about 200 yards from shore and then Rick used the trolling motor and clever maneuvering to put us right on top of the redfish hole without making so much as a peep. Upon arriving the tide was very low and was just starting to turn. As the current picked up and the tide came in this brought the bite.
We were using shrimp and couldn’t leave one down for long because we started catching one redfish after another for the next three hours. Sure, we tried other baits but nothing seemed to work like the live shrimp so we stuck with that and before the end of the day was up we had caught fourteen redfish as well as a mixed bag of other fish. But really, who cares about those?
Let’s get back to the redfishing.
“Get em up!” Rick said. “These redfish might not be giants but all redfish have shoulders” he explained as I reeled in my sixth redfish in ninety minutes. After netting it there were some ooghs, aaghs and pictures taken and then it was back in the drink for the red and a quick bait of my line for me. Minutes later Rick was winching in a twenty incher that ran him around the boat several times while playing a monsyllabic symphony with his spool drag. Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzz. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
The name of that song is ‘fish on’ and is a number one hit with all bay area anglers.
If you are planning to make a trip out to Weedon Island to get in on some of this action then here are some tips you’ll need.
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|1.Study the area. Weedon Island Preserve is approximately 3,700
acres so getting a good look at the area on a map will help you locate the backwater entrances around the island. The map to the left shows three of the best spots to fish for redfish.
2. Be on the spot you want to fish at the beginning of an incoming tide. This is when the redfish will move in and begin to feed on the baitfish, shimp and crustaceans around the mangroves and flats. Use live shrimp under a cork or free lined.
All in all it was a great day. Fourteen redfish in three hours is a hallmark about this trip that will put it on the top of my list of redfishing trips in Tampa Bay. If you are looking for a redfish hole that is currently on fire….I mean, on fire RIGHT NOW, then you need to make plans to hit Weedon Island soon. When you do be sure to take plenty of pictures and be nice enough to send one in so it can be put on this website!
Have a question? Post a comment and I’ll be happy to answer it…