Fly fisherman need flexibility this time of year with frequent cold fronts and windy conditions being the norm. Usually, I mentally plan my charter the night before but several recent trips were changed at the last minute because of wind intensity and direction. Some of the worse days had us go to one of the many rivers that empty into the gulf or bay. After driving over some of our bridges and seeing whitecaps it was a pleasure to launch where we were greeted with calm conditions. When you travel up a river it becomes narrower and is protected by trees and often high banks affording both you and the fish warmth and protection as well as a chance to observe undisturbed wildlife. Snook, jacks, reds, ladyfish and small tarpon will be caught next to bass and panfish because of lower salinity from fresh water influence. It is best to rig several rods, one with a floating line, another with a clear sinking tip and a third with full sinking line. This way you can easily handle fish that are in the shallows as well as those that prefer deeper water. When sight fishing is not possible, target structure such as docks, points, feeder creeks, stumps, partially submerged trees and bridges with small flies, size 6-1, that imitate the baitfish you observe. Develop a pattern after catching a few fish and concentrate on the conditions that rewarded you with your success.
Fly Fisherman Pat Damico charters Fly Guy in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com or (727) 504-8649.
Capt. Pat Damico is a Coast Guard certified charter captain with extensive experience guiding in the Tampa Bay area. Whether you enjoy spin or fly fishing, your chances of success are as good with him as anywhere else in Florida.