Saturday, March 24, 2018

Captain's Corner: Cold affects fly fishing

Repeated cold fronts: This winter has been a test for most local shallow-water fishermen, especially those using a fly rod. Most flats species engulf a shrimp impaled on a hook in front of their nose but don't expend much energy to chase a fly.

Tactics: Always consult tide charts. They are reliable but affected by winds. Southerly winds speed the incoming tide and slow the outgoing tide. Winds stir up the gulf and cause incoming tides to lack water clarity. In dirty water, use large, bulky flies that push water, allowing fish to notice their presence at greater distances. Darker patterns using black, purple and brown are more productive. Work flies slower and incorporate some weight to put the pattern at the targets' level. A perfect fly presentation close to the surface gets little interest from a cold, lethargic fish hugging the bottom in 4 feet. Use sink-tip fly lines, which are available from most manufacturers.

Tips: When wading, kayaking or in a boat, seek warmer water by carrying an inexpensive pool thermometer. We have found water temperatures on productive flats several degrees warmer than similar locations that seemed devoid of active fish. Afternoons with weaker tides have been much more productive lately because the sun has warmed the water.

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


Captainís Corner: Take advantage of this weekís favorable weather

Gusty winds and small craft advisories much of this past week hampered most of the offshore fishing. With lighter winds and warmer temperatures forecast, this might be the week to get out and take advantage. Water temperatures are cooler than we like...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Published: 03/23/18

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

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