Tampa Bay Times
Super catch-and-release snook fly action has begun. Snook continue to proliferate in our area. Sight-fishing is heating up with large females and groups of courting males easily seen when anglers pick early mornings with bright sun and easterly winds. The importance of tidal flow will put large numbers close to passes, especially if there is structure, debris, points, rip-rap or offsets, which give them additional protection. A boat is not needed unless it takes you to an isolated hot spot. The keys are to bring good polarized glasses with side shields and a hat with a wide, dark underside brim, and to stay on the sand. Beaches with a higher viewpoint are ideal. Avoid the low sun, which casts your shadow over the fish; they will be very close to the sand and usually occupy the troughs there. Stay out of the water and cast parallel to the sand. An 8-weight fly rod with a floating line is good, but a clear sink tip line is better, especially if there is any wave action that gives your fly a deeper, more lifelike presentation. White, lightly weighted baitfish patterns size 1/0 to 2 are the best. Select a fish that is facing you and place your fly close enough so that the fish can see it. A 30-pound shock tippet of hard monofilament with a loop knot will cover terminal tackle requirements. Check your back cast when starting; make sure curious beachgoers aren’t nearby.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com and (727) 504-8649.