Productive fly fishing: Dock lights have been producing. We often go out a few hours before daylight and usually can fish without seeing another boat, especially on weekdays. Trout and reds have been primary targets, as snook numbers in my immediate area have been severely reduced. As long as the tide was cranking, feeding frenzies were common. Double hookups are common when two fly casters are working an area. Synchronize your casting to avoid tangled lines. Position one caster on each end of the boat, using a small, white baitfish imitation pattern and a 25-pound shock tippet. Have one caster use a floating line and the other a clear sink tip to cover different depths.
Lights near marinas also have produced some baby tarpon, which require a stealthy approach and longer casts. Your first cast is always the best working the outside shadow before casting into the lighted area. Long, slow strips seem to work best and are often interrupted with a strike that causes an immediate hookup. Size 4 to 1 Bead Butt Baitfish, Deceivers and Puglisi synthetic patterns with crimped barbs are selected to match the plentiful baitfish the fish are chasing. Respect the dock owner's privacy or you will find the light out on your next trip.
Boat position: A bow-mounted electric trolling motor will position the boat and help get your large fish away from the barnacle-encrusted pilings that will break leaders as well as fly lines.
Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.