Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Fly fishing options that beat the heat

What's hot: When hot-weather fly fishing, start your day two or three hours before sunup. Lighted bridges, marinas and docks are magnets for anything that feeds on shrimp, crabs and baitfish. Underwater lights and lights close to the water draw plankton, which attracts baitfish and, in turn, predators. Pick an area with good current flow. Locations close to gulf passes are ideal. Multiple lighted docks in a small area mean you will be fishing more than running in the dark to another destination. We frequently use only a bow-mounted electric motor to move to nearby docks while the one we fish with needs a rest. Returning in 15-20 minutes allows time for feeding activity to resume. Visit your chosen nighttime destination during the day to familiarize yourself with navigation and casting hazards.

Tips: Trout, reds and snook are your primary targets. White is the color of choice for flies that imitate baitfish. Choose patterns that duplicate the size of bait visible in lighted areas. Using 8- or 9-weight rods with weight-forward floating lines and 9-foot leaders that have a 20-pound tippet and 30-pound shock tippet prevents cutoffs and abrasion from snook. Smaller tarpon will take your offering. After setting the hook, remember to move the rod toward the fish when it jumps to prevent line breakage.

Technique: At sunup, head to the gulf beaches or islands to wade for protected snook. Remember to walk the sand and look in the trough close to you for linesiders.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th...
Published: 02/08/18