Small lakes, ponds holding hungry gamefish

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Conditions are perfect for family fun. Small freshwater lakes and ponds are everywhere, and all have panfish and bass. Developments and golf courses are a good example. Summer weeds to foul hooks are absent, and fish are always hungry. Your freshwater trout equipment sitting in the garage will be perfect. A 3-5 weight fly rod with floating weight-forward line and a simple 6-foot leader tapered to 6-pound test will launch small flies, size 6-10, that imitate ants, beetles, crickets and minnows. White, black and chartreuse are all good colors. Pick an area free of trees and people to prevent problems with backcasts. Docks, bridges, lily pads, weed beds, overhanging trees and stumps offer structure that harbor food for these scrappy gamefish. Cast around these fish magnets and work both floating and submerged offerings. Flies should be worked slowly, and any hesitation felt should be met with a hook set.

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

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Capt. Pat Damico

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.