Saltwater gets all of our attention, but when driving to and from work or visiting a friend, keep an eye out for a pond that looks fishy. There are many productive ponds that have bass and panfish, some even have snook and baby tarpon, both of which adapt well to freshwater. Youíre okay to fish on public land, but if privately owned, seek permission. Keep a rod rigged in the vehicle. An SUV can accommodate a fully rigged fly rod, or you can have it in two sections in a protective case in the trunk. Park your car in a safe place and observe the pondís surface for activity. A small pair of binoculars is helpful. Most fish will be around structure, trees, floating plants, docks, bridges or an aerator. On a sunny day, shade is the key. In the absence of structure, cast close to shore where most food sources such as hoppers, crickets, ants, beetles and baitfish are plentiful. Splashes will give away feeding activity. A 4- or 5-weight fly rod with a floating weight-forward line using a 7-foot leader tapered to 8-pound test will handle easily and allow you to find if any fish are present. Use flies that imitate small baitfish and terrestrials or use a white or yellow popper in sizes 6-8 and cover water quickly. If you find fish too small for your equipment or too large, adjust gear to be better prepared on your return visit.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.