The Tampa Bay Times

Baby tunny, or false albacore, are perfect for fly rod fun. Large schools of these speedy predators are presently along our beaches and are easiest to find in passes where there is strong tidal flow and tons of baitfish. Both an incoming or outgoing tide will trigger feeding action easily seen because terns and seagulls will feed heavily on baitfish pushed to the surface. A pair of binoculars will allow you to scan a larger area. Once feeding fish are observed, position your boat ahead of the school and shut down your outboard. Leaving the motor on will put down the fish. The tide will bring the fish closer to you so a quick cast can be made. 9 weight fly rods are needed with a good reel that has 150 yards of backing and an efficient drag. A 30-pound hard monofilament shock tippet is needed to prevent cutoffs from sharp teeth. Wire leaders will spook fish and reduce takes. White or chartreuse over white flies that match baitfish size are used and must be stripped very fast to replicate fleeing baitfish. A sink tip or full sinking fly line, rather than a floating line, will get you deeper where the largest fish are often found.

Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters Fly Guy in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.