Skinny Water Red Fish-Tarpon Springs, FL

Lately, it has been a bit too cold to spearfish—especially with these cold fronts coming and going the visibility is close to none. So, CJ Peppe and I decided to make a mid-day decision and go for some red fish near the mangroves during high tide. We loaded up the Gheenoe with our trolling motor, lure bags, two spinning rods and an additional fly rod. The goal today was to explore a new flat that we suspected could hold a few red fish.

Once we rigged the Gheenoe for takeoff we noticed an immense amount of fog started rolling through. CJ and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes—fishing can never be easy. We decided to pursue the flat anyway... When we arrived we rode our plane as far as it would take us before switching over to the trolling motor. Once we switched, it was time to pick our weapons of choice; CJ selected a jerk-bait while I choose the 'ole reliable,' gold spoon. We started our drift heading inland with the fog to our backs, making strategic casts. CJ banged the mangroves while I hit grass beds to the left of us. There were no signs of life, we started to question this flat entirely. 

It was time to jump to the other side of the flat. While we slowly trolled over we started seeing a few red fish spook through the fog. This side was starting to look a lot more promising. CJ decided he was going to switch his lure to a soft-plastic shrimp, while I stayed true to my unwavering belief in the spoon. The fog was no longer to our backs—we were now facing it head on which was a lot more difficult because we lost visibility in front of the boat. We started seeing stirred up sand spots and knew we had to make a switch. We rounded the corner of the mangroves and had the boat drifting perpendicular to the shore. Now we both had the opportunity to see what was ahead and the fog was once again to our backs.

CJ saw a smaller red fish laid up towards the mangrove and casted, but it wanted nothing to do with him. The red spooked, bumping four others we never even saw. While watching the wakes split into the distance I saw a red ahead of us casually swimming towards the rear of the skiff. I placed a cast about 20 yards off of the engine hoping the spoon would catch the red's eye. The spoon crossed right in front of the red and I saw a big swell, to my surprise the red missed the spoon. When all of a sudden its path changed and started to charge the spoon again, this time there was no miss! The red started peeling out drag from my reel and it was game on! After the initial run I was able to get back some line and noticed the red heading back towards the mangroves. I did not want to lose this fish to a tangle so I redirected it back to the open water and was able to get it by the boat after another nice run. It looked as if the red had tired itself out so CJ went to lip it and successfully got the fish in the boat. 

The fish was beautiful! She had 2 spots on both sides while being completely lit up with a bright blue tipped tail. Once we snagged a few pictures she was released safely back to the mangroves. Below are a few pictures of the nice sized red fish!