Very large gator trout are more available this time of year. Most are caught with bait, some with artificial’s and flies. Locate baitfish on drop-offs or in a deep hole surrounded by shallow water, and you will be rewarded with some small trout. Large yellow mouth trout usually are in very shallow water and occasionally with a few similar-sized friends. The key is finding shallow warmer water containing larger baitfish. Many of these locations are impossible to access with a conventional boat. A canoe or a kayak is one of the best ways to cover large deeper areas on your way to the shallows. I prefer a canoe because it has a built in stripping basket which helps control fly line for long casts. Stealth is necessary so tethered it around your waist with a line while walking in ankle-deep water. Use maps and charts to help find the trout. Even large trout can be hard to see making good polarized glasses a necessity. Avoid creating fish-scaring ripples by moving very slowly and look for fleeing baitfish, nervous water and fish shadows on the bottom. You will spook some fish, but remember where the lunker’s were to develop a pattern for finding more.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.
Capt. Pat Damico is a Coast Guard certified charter captain with extensive experience guiding in the Tampa Bay area. Whether you enjoy spin or fly fishing, your chances of success are as good with him as anywhere else in Florida.