What's hot: Fly fishermen are always looking for a new hot spot. When driving, even on your way to or from work, keep an eye out for a roadside pond that looks fishy. You don't want to be on private land without permission. Many productive ponds have bass and panfish, and some even have snook and baby tarpon.
Tactics: Keep a rod rigged in your vehicle. A sport utility vehicle can accommodate a fully rigged fly rod, or have the rod in two sections in a protective case in the trunk. Observe the pond's surface for activity: baitfish scattering, wakes from fish, surface splashes. Most fish will be around structures such as trees and floating plants. Make most casts close to shore.
Tackle: A 4- or 5-weight fly rod with a floating weight forward line using a 7-foot leader tapered to 8-pound test will handle easily and allow you to find out if fish are present. Use flies that imitate small baitfish, or a white or yellow popper in sizes 6 to 8, and cover water quickly. If you find fish too small or too large for your equipment, adjust the gear to be better prepared for your return visit.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.