The Tampa Bay Times

The increased interest in water sports has our once relatively undisturbed waterways booming with activity. Since most saltwater fly fisher’s fish in relatively shallow water, what has been its effect? A school of redfish that are casually feeding in less than 2 feet of water on a grass flat will not be there after a jet ski or flats boat with a jack plate runs over or close to the school frequently destroying seagrass in the process. Feeding birds and mullet that were with them indicating their presence will also leave. I have had this happen even when we left our boat to wade closer to the feeding fish so as not to disturb them. Avoiding weekends would be a start, but would your work schedule allow this? Fishing during the week is a partial answer. Fish that are used to heavy boat traffic behave differently that fish that are in a remote area. Finding light fishing and boating activity is a difficult solution especially with 1000 people moving here daily wanting to use the attractive water. If they don’t already have a boat, they will soon. More regulations usually aren’t the solution because the offenders are often already breaking some existing boating law. Having your wake under control as an example. Apply the golden rule sounds good, but many people don’t understand what it means. 

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

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