The Tampa Bay Times

Conditions are perfect for some family fun and the opportunity to relive some of your fun fishing as a youth. Small freshwater lakes and ponds are everywhere and almost all have panfish and bass. Developments and golf courses are good examples. Make sure fishing is permitted. Summer weeds to foul hooks are absent and fish are always hungry. Your freshwater trout equipment sitting in the garage will be perfect. A 3-5 wt fly rod with floating weight forward line and a simple 6 ft leader tapered to 6-pound test will launch simple, small flies, size 6-10, that imitate ants, beetles, crickets, and minnows. White, black, and chartreuse are all good colors. Pick an area free of trees and people to prevent problems with backcasts. Docks, bridges, lily pads, weed beds, overhanging trees, and stumps offer structures that harbor food for these scrappy game fish. Cast around these fish magnets and work both floating as well as submerged offerings. Sinking flies should be worked slowly and any hesitation felt should be met with a hook set. Crimp barbs on hooks for safety and to make releasing fish easy. Taking some home for tasty fillets will usually improve the pond’s average fish size for the future. Always check FWC regulations first.

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

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