Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Captain's Corner: Adjustments help land tarpon when sharks are in pursuit

What's hot: Tarpon get most of the attention when we talk about exciting fly action for large fish in our area. Earlier in the year as water warmed and baitfish became more prolific, large tarpon followed their forage and populated most of our local waters. Following the tarpon were a variety of sharks, which consider tarpon their favorite food. Waiting patiently for a tarpon that will take a fly can make for a long day. How many times have you seen sharks patrolling a tarpon hot spot? If you cast to them with a tarpon setup and get a hookup, a frayed leader is usually the result.

Equipment: Ideally, have a second rod rigged to save time. A 10-weight fly rod, 200 yards of 30-pound backing and a leader with a 4-foot, 60-pound butt section, 20-pound class tippet and a 1-foot wire bite tippet will attach to the fly. Use a Bimini twist or haywire twist to double the section next to the 40-pound single-strand wire. Attach the wire to the double-strand leader with an Albright knot. The bright orange or red fly size 3/0 will need a haywire twist to complete the connection to the wire leader.

Technique: Cast ahead of the shark and work the fly with a slow, teasing motion. A hookup will need several serious strip sets low and to the side.

Tips: When using single-strand wire, a back-and-forth motion will break the tag end with a smooth finish. Cutting the wire will leave a sharp result that will injure you or cut your leader while playing the fish. Catch and careful release is encouraged.

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


Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is fast approaching

Spring is trying to move in, with just a few cold fronts mixed in. The up-and-down air temperatures will slightly affect the water temperature and also affect the fishing. Fishing has been mostly incredible in North Pinellas. All of the species we ex...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/19/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18