Wind has been detrimental lately, not only in fly casting but in finding fish, then getting them to take our offering. Ideally, find some clear water and donít worry about it. Areas with lots of sea grass will filter water for exceptional clarity. Unfortunately, they are often in open areas where high winds affect fly presentation, especially for novices. Incoming tide from the gulf, especially in passes, can show a well-delineated mud line. Discolored water can have advantages, such as making your presentation more forgiving and allowing you to get closer to fish. Small baitfish have been in very shallow water, causing trout, reds and snook to feed in deeper water around mangroves, docks, points and dropoffs. Use larger flies with a bulky profile in darker colors like brown over orange and black over purple. They will push more water and allow sensitive linear lines on fish to detect their presence. Vary your presentations when using baitfish patterns. A long, slow strip with occasional twitches might help. With warmer water, use poppers that cause a surface commotion and expect violent strikes. Most saltwater fish require a slight hesitation before setting the hook. Set it when you feel the fish. A fly rod can be immediately recast to the same spot if you donít nick your quarry.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.