Frequent cold fronts can make shallow saltwater species very difficult this time of year. Windy overcast days and unreliable tides make it hard to establish a pattern. Don't spend a lot of time at an unproductive location. Pick a grassy flat that has been productive in the past, or has a lot of bird activity, and work your boat in deeper water parallel to the grass edge. Consider wind and tide movement before beginning. A bow-mounted electric motor occasionally run very slowly helps boat control. Cast to the deep edges of the grass, allowing your fly, usually weighted, to sink close to the bottom and then retrieve slowly. Two experienced fly fishers can fish simultaneously at each end of the boat. Pay attention to accurately casting to any irregularities in the grass edge where trout and reds will wait for easy prey. These lethargic fish must have the fly in front of their face to react. If successful, repeat at the same depth. A sea anchor can be employed to move the boat slower. Repeat the drift, only this time drift the grass edge and cast shallower. Most casts will be over grass, but target sand holes, lighter colored areas in the grass that are a little deeper. Large trout and reds will use these as ambush points. Again, allow the fly to sink close to the bottom. Longer casts cover more water. Baitfish fly patterns with the hook pointed up, to avoid weeds, in chartreuse and white, chartreuse and pink, and black over red are good choices.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727)504-8649.