The Tampa Bay Times

By Ed Walker

With persistent heavy rains this week many anglers have been stuck in the house or fishing close to home. Offshore trips have been nearly impossible to run and even flats fishing ventures often get shut down by the on and off showers. So what is a diehard angler to do? One option is to explore spillways. Places where freshwater pours into the saltwater over a wall, through a drainpipe, or even a ditch.  Snook, small tarpon, redfish, and ladyfish will move into the swirling, turbulent waters in these places to feed on small freshwater fish that are washed into the saltwater and become disoriented.

Dams where lake levels are regulated can be excellent although most are well known. Most of my favorite spillway spots are small ditches deep in the woods and require a bit of a muddy hike or a kayak to get into. To find these hotspots grab a rain jacket and follow virtually any brackish creek or tributary as far inland as you can. Don’t give up when trees or weeds block your path. At the very end is where the fish will be during periods of heavy rain. With a little luck you may be rewarded with pool of fast moving water with a school of big snook or small tarpon laying in the current feeding on anything that comes by. A small jig on a spinning rod is all you need for gear but be sure to bring some spares as these fish almost always run into the cover once hooked.