Thursday, March 22, 2018

Captain's Corner: Flat water makes seeing tarpon easier

Easterly morning winds will have the gulf waters flat close to shore and make seeing tarpon a lot easier. Get out at daybreak and stay close to shore with the sun behind you, which will allow the silver kings' backs to glisten as they roll on the smooth water's surface. Careful observation will teach you how to pick "happy fish" over those on a mission to get somewhere without eating along the way. A few trips will get you accustomed to their favorite places to appear, giving you a pattern of preferred routes. Pick a relatively shallow, light-colored bottom area where fish can be seen far enough away to not surprise you. It's usual to see large tarpon very close to shore, even inside the swim markers. To sight fish, you must see them first. A close shot to undisturbed fish is ideal. Lead them with an accurate cast. Never chase them with an outboard or electric motor. Position your boat ahead of the fish and have them come to you. Attempts to cast to fish going away or at more than a right angle are a waste of energy, and if one spooks, they all will leave in a panic. Learn to cast quickly and accurately. Get an experienced fly caster to help with preparation. Do an Internet search for "saltwater quick cast" and study and practice a technique that fits your comfort zone and abilities. Don't try a 60-foot cast if you never cast farther than 40. And respect other fishermen's space.

Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at and (727) 504-8649.


Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18