The schools of redfish you’ll see in January can literally number in the hundreds, and you’ll find out quickly that they like sticking close together.
When trying to catch them, the worst thing you can do is give them a reason to split up into smaller groups. Casting into the middle of a school will do just that and should be avoided at all cost.
Once you’ve found a school, you can anchor down and cast to the front of them or cruise along parallel to the school by poling or using a trolling motor, casting in front of the leading fish.
With a trolling motor, anglers should cruise parallel to the school, keeping themselves in position to present baits where the school is heading. You want to be able to keep your eyes on the front of the school, and you want to maintain enough distance to not disturb them.
Always cast in front of the school, and wait for them to make it to your lure. Giving them a 10-foot lead is good, and if one of the leading fish doesn’t hit the lure, it’s best to either let it sit still or reel it in as slowly as possible, then reposition yourself to cast in front of the school again.
If a fish in the middle of the school hits your lure, go ahead and land the fish, but chances are, this will bust up that school.
If a school you’re working does break up and scatter, you’re better off leaving those fish and looking for another school. Over the course of a day, a broken school will work itself back together, but it will take some time before any of them will bite again. Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to find other schools this time of year.