Thursday, September 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captain’s Corner: Massive baitfish schools present plenty of opportunities

The shipping channel and most area passes are filled with massive schools of baitfish. Little tunny (bonito or false albacore) follow these smaller fish and present great opportunities for fly fisherís. A moving tide, either incoming or outgoing, gets these speedy predators active near the waterís surface. Noisy diving terns and gulls tell you exactly where the fish are. A large school of these sleek speedsters sounds like thunder as they crash bait tearing up the water. A bow-mounted electric motor is preferred to position your boat ahead of the fish, letting them come to you. If you only have an outboard, idle well ahead of the action and shut off your motor. When within casting range, cast a 9-weight fly rod with a sinking tip or intermediate full-sinking line ahead of the fish. Larger fish usually are deeper so give weighted flies a little time before starting a fast retrieve. Use flies the size and shape of escaping baitfish. Instead of one-hand stripping, place the fly rod under your arm and use both hands, moving the fly fast and putting the line in a stripping basket located in front of you. When you feel a strike, set the hook by stripping hard. Select flies with white over chartreuse synthetic hair rather than buck tail because it lasts longer. A reel with a good drag and 150 yards of backing is needed. A glove or finger-stripping guard is a good investment.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Look north toward Tarpon Springs for fishing to avoid Red Tide, for now

Red Tide has been creeping toward North Pinellas. Although bait is flourishing along the beaches and predator fish are feeding on them, hordes of dead fish are washing up on shore, most likely from Red Tide blooms well offshore. Lately, Iíve focused ...
Published: 09/19/18
Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

Letís Take it Outside: A trip to the historic Florida Middle Grounds

The historic Florida Middle Grounds offer some of the Gulf Coastís most premier fishing. The reefs start about 85 miles northwest off the coast of Clearwater and extend another 30 miles beyond. The Middle Grounds have miles and miles of underwater mo...
Published: 09/19/18

Captainís Corner: Dealing with Red Tide from spearfishing standpoint

Finding fish to spear offshore is tricky. Unlike hook-and-line anglers, spearfishermen need reasonable underwater visibility to see their prey, judge itís the correct type of fish, determine if itís legal size, then before the fish flees, take the sh...
Published: 09/18/18

Captainís Corner: When Red Tide bloom breaks, fish can arrive quickly

Here is some good news attributed to Red Tide. Things do rebound quickly, once the bloom breaks. New populations of fish can arrive quickly in its aftermath. Anglers who have been successful lately are looking for untainted areas to fish. At least a ...
Published: 09/16/18
Updated: 09/17/18

Captainís Corner: Bite can turn on and off quickly this time of year

Typical deep-summer conditions continue across the bay. During this time of year the bite can be erratic and maybe even a little bi≠polar. The bite can turn on and off in an instant. Several species in one spot can be normal. On recent trips clients ...
Published: 09/16/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing strong in Fort De Soto area

Red Tide started showing up substantially on Saturday in Pinellas with the strong west wind we had. I lost some bait but was still able to fish. Snook are taking their time transitioning back into the bay from the beaches. Every shoreline and pass ar...
Published: 09/14/18
Updated: 09/15/18

Captainís Corner: Massive baitfish schools present plenty of opportunities

The shipping channel and most area passes are filled with massive schools of baitfish. Little tunny (bonito or false albacore) follow these smaller fish and present great opportunities for fly fisherís. A moving tide, either incoming or outgoing, get...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing in the bay with Red Tide in the gulf

Red Tide has started to affect our beaches, so Iíve stayed away from fishing the gulf. Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found in the bay, which is free of Red Tide. Spanish mackerel, cobia, sharks, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle can e...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/13/18

Captainís Corner: Offshore redfish are a great find

Fall brings many changes to our coastal fisheries. Many inshore species like snook, trout, and redfish make moves from one preferred habitat to others. One of the most notable, but least understood changes is the arrival of giant redfish to the water...
Published: 09/11/18

Captainís Corner: Bait available close to shore

Consecutive days of easterly winds have calmed the nearshore gulf waters and have drawn bait schools practically to the beach. A mix of whitebait, greenbacks and even a few juvenile Spanish sardines can be cast-netted with relative ease inside the sw...
Published: 09/07/18
Updated: 09/08/18