What's hot: Get out at daybreak with an easterly wind and calm water to take advantage of great tarpon action. They haven't been beat up by hordes of fishermen yet and are in pre-spawn mode, making them more likely to grab a well-presented fly. Position your boat close to shore with the sun at your back. Good polarized glasses will allow you to see their flash as they lazily roll on the surface close to shore, occasionally inside swim markers.
Technique: Eleven-weight fly rods with a floating or sink tip line are required. Have your fly at the fish's depth. A 40- to 60-weight fluorocarbon shock tippet tied to a 1/0 to 2/0 Keys type or toad pattern in dark colors has been successful. Minimize boat movement by using a push pole in shallow water. The ideal cast is having the fish come straight to you then placing the offering in its path.
Tips: Figure out the movement pattern and set up so they come to you. If you haven't been using heavier rods, practice before getting on the water. Use your body, not your arms, to fight the fish. If anchored, a floating marker buoy with a quick disconnect allows you to chase hooked fish then return to your spot.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com and (727) 504-8649.