The Tampa Bay Times
If early morning trips have not been productive, when fly fishing, our weak tides may be the reason. High tide at mid-day will drop sharply and trigger feeding activity. The larger volume of water will get our quarry under docks, mangroves, and other obstructions that may require something other than a small fly that will be recognized only when the fish is facing it. Have one of your fly rods with a floating weight forward line rigged with your favorite popper that imitates a baitfish. Use smaller, lighter ones at first to get used to how they cast. White is usually the best choice, switching to darker colors in low-light situations. Make sure your tapered leader does not have fluorocarbon components as this will sink and pull the floating popper’s nose under the surface causing it to not work properly as well as making casting more difficult. The noise of the popper disturbing the surface will attract gamefish similar to a popping cork used by bait fishermen. Unlike when fishing for freshwater bass, don’t let your surface popper sit too long. Quick twitches using your line hand instead of the rod tip will make it seem like it is struggling and trying to escape from the large fish. A good addition to the popper is placing an artificial eye on the side that floats instead of on each side of the head. This more clearly represents a struggling baitfish laying on its side. Strikes are often violent and add to the excitement.
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.