The largest trout are available now. The key is to find warmer, shallow water containing small baitfish. Current tides are perfect for this. A high incoming tide late in the afternoon will flood shallows that have absorbed the sun’s rays. A favorite place is a long sandbar that has adjacent healthy grass. Some of these were created when shorelines were dredged years ago to provide deeper water for docks. Leave your boat or kayak and wade right on the bar as this will be firm and easygoing. Get out maps and charts and look for these locations. Using good sunglasses, a hat with a dark underbrim and the sun at your back, stalk prospective locations like a fish-eating bird. Even large trout can be hard to see. Move slowly and look for fleeing baitfish, nervous water or the fish’s shadow on the bottom. You will spook some fish, but remember where the lunkers are for future reference and to help develop a pattern for finding more. A 7- or 8-weight fly rod with a 12-foot leader tapered to 15-pound test fluorocarbon helps make a stealthy presentation of your favorite baitfish pattern to the fish’s strike zone. Use a floating line and white fly patterns without weight.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.