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.