Stable weather conditions are usually necessary for consistent fishing success. That certainly has not been the case lately. During the summer, higher tides have redfish, trout and snook in areas that are high and dry during other times of the year. A good example is flooded mangroves, docks and other structure creating a place for fish to find food and feel secure, well-protected from overhead predators and bright sun. A bait fisherman will cast a live offering close to structure, and the unsuspecting baitfish will swim under the structure into the waiting mouth of a finny predator. With a fly rod, a cast must be made within inches of flooded mangroves and structure or back into narrow openings where fish can see or hear it. Use larger flies that cause a disturbance, often drawing fish to the edge of cover. A good choice are poppers in white, yellow or black that float and have a flat surface in front. A slight pull on a tight line creates a “pop,” often bringing your intended quarry out of hiding to attack its dinner, resulting in violent, exciting surface action. Cast with the rod held vertically for pinpoint accuracy but move the rod horizontally to cast close to the water to get under structure. If floating grass is a problem, use flies with weed guards.

Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at and (727) 504-8649.

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