Adapt to the cold: If you like to fish the salt with a fly rod, should you venture outside in the cold? Successful fishermen always adapt to changing conditions. Blustery weather has most inshore species hunkered close to the soft, dark bottoms. Trout and redfish stack in cuts or channels that offer protection, warmth and a food source. Scan a flat at low tide to see deeper access areas that allow fish to move onto the warmer flat as the tide comes in. The fish will then spread out.
Tactics: A floating fly line should be replaced with a clear sinking intermediate tip to probe deeper water. Cortland, Rio and SA make these designed specifically for saltwater. A short 4- to 5-foot fluorocarbon leader tapered to 15-pound test will be attached to your weighted fly. Size 2 Clouser minnow patterns with dumbbell eyes in chartreuse/white and brown/orange will complement the setup. Cast uptide of the fish and use a countdown to determine depth.
Casting tip: A tight loop necessary for fly casting with a floating line will present problems that can be avoided by slowing and lengthening your casting stroke. A larger loop will deliver your fly successfully, avoiding tangles. Work the fly with a slow retrieve.
Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.