What's hot: Cooler conditions and clear water combine to make shallow-water sight-fishing opportunities more favorable. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an unsuspecting fish, then making the perfect presentation before an exciting hookup.
Conditions have been good around the mouths of some of our many rivers as the fish enter wind-protected bays. Redfish, snook and trout will slowly cruise close to the shoreline at higher tides, giving the stealthy angler an opportunity to score with a fly rod.
What to use: Small crab patterns that match the bottom, baitfish and even shrimp "flies" can be cast with an 8-weight fly rod and a floating weight-forward line. Adjust leader length to suit conditions. A 7½-foot will turn over better and give greater accuracy when fishing close to structures. A 9-foot is the most universal length, but there are times when a longer leader is needed on bright, windless days. Poling the boat is best to get within range of most fish. What do you do when fishing alone? A bow-mounted electric motor run at very slow speed will often work, but once you use the tide to your advantage, you can stake out with the sun at your back and fish will come to you.
Technique: Learn to make a saltwater quick-cast by holding the fly and line in your line hand and delivering the fly with one or two false casts without taking your eye off the fish.
Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.