Most fly fishers would prefer minimum wind and cloudless skies to increase chances for a banner day. This has been a problem lately. The wind makes casting more difficult, unless very experienced, and clouds interfere with sight casting opportunities because fish aren’t visible in the shallows where we do most of our fishing. Get away from open water by going to one of the many rivers that empty into Tampa Bay and the Gulf. A boat or paddle craft is necessary to allow mobility and for safety. Rivers get narrower as you head upstream and offer wind protection from tree covered banks also presenting a pleasant change from urban fishing. Most fish we are interested in will be structure oriented. Your casting now will be to fallen trees, undercut banks, points of land, sandbars, mouths of small creeks and tree cover close to the water surface. Any interruption in normal shorelines should be investigated with probing accurate casts. Outgoing tides are generally preferred, but I have seen many exceptions. Moving water is very important to success. Equipment is similar to fishing the flats. An 8-weight rod rigged with a floating weight forward line would be the first choice rigged with a popper or shallow running baitfish imitation. Another 7- or 9-weight fly rod with a clear sink tip line will really cover deeper water where larger fish often await offerings. This baitfish imitation should have a little built-in weight. Snook and small tarpon should be available, so have a 30-pound shock tippet of stiff monofilament attached to the fly to prevent breakoffs.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.