This time of year is perfect for early risers who love to fly fish. Pods of snook are within a few feet of the sand in the trough along most beaches. Though the season is closed, catch-and-release opportunities have never been better. A large female with a group of smaller males will do their courting in these locations, especially if there is good current flow. Locations with structure close to passes are the best. A good pair of Polaroid glasses is a necessity. Stay on the bank and out of the water. The rising sun behind you will reveal fish. You will see baitfish. Duplicate their size with white flies. Crimp all hooks, making easy penetration possible with a quick release as the fish is still in the water. Hold your cast until the fish is facing you. Then cast to the side of the fish. The fly, with a 30-pound shock tippet, is then retrieved, duplicating an escaping baitfish. It should trigger a violent strike. An eight-weight, fast-action 9-foot rod is perfect and will allow you to quickly pick up a long cast if misplaced or refused. Make a second cast immediately. Change fly patterns after several refusals of good presentations. If there is strong wave action, a clear, sinking tip line might work better than a floating one for better line management.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com or (727) 504-8649.