Baby tunny, or false albacore, are perfect for fly rod fun. Large schools of these speedy predators are along our beaches and are easiest to find in passes where there's strong tidal flow and tons of baitfish. Both an incoming or outgoing tide trigger feeding action easily seen because terns and seagulls feed heavily on baitfish pushed to the surface. Use binoculars to scan a larger area. Once feeding fish are observed, position your boat ahead of the school and shut down the outboard. Leaving the motor on puts down the fish. The tide brings the fish closer to you so a quick saltwater cast can be made. Nine weight fly rods are needed with a good reel that has 150 yards of backing and an efficient drag. A 30-pound hard monofilament shock tippet is needed to prevent cutoffs from sharp teeth. Wire leaders spook fish and reduce takes. White or chartreuse/white flies that match baitfish size are used and must be stripped quickly to replicate fleeing baitfish. A sink tip or full sinking fly line, rather than a floating line, gets you deeper where the largest fish are often found.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com and (727) 504-8649.