Thursday, May 24, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Fishing the flats can be strong this time of year

What's hot: Shallow-water fishing, often called fishing the flats, can be very productive this time of year. Water is clear and weed-free, making sight-fishing ideal. Sun, light wind and clear skies are needed to spot fish. Our quarry — trout, reds, snook and occasionally sheepshead — will be easier to see before dropping our presentation in front of them.

Technique: Sunlight can cast shadows or reflect off a shiny reel or bright rod, scaring fish. The sun behind you is best for sight-fishing. Keep low to the surface and cast more horizontally instead of vertically. Minimize false casting and learn a saltwater quick cast. Leave brightly colored shirts and hats home. A smooth water surface makes fish more spooky. Use lighter equipment such as a 6-weight fly rod, floating weight forward line and a 12-foot tapered leader. Smaller flies (size 4-6) with small bead chain eyes will softly land on the water if properly cast. Use lightly dressed flies.

Tips: Polarized glasses and a dark hat brim are needed to see well. Try yellow glasses to brighten things. If you are having difficulty seeing a fish, tilt your head from side to side to improve visibility.

Pat Damico charters out of St. Pete Beach and can be reached at captpat.com or (727)504-8649.

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