What's hot: If you are an early riser and love to fly fish, this time of year is perfect for you. Pods of snook are within a few feet of the sand in the trough along most beaches. Although the season is closed, catch-and-release opportunities have never been better. A large female with a group of smaller males will do their courting in these locations, especially if there is good current flow. Locations with some structure are the best.
Technique: A good pair of Polaroid glasses will reveal very large fish. Stay on the bank and out of the water. The rising sun behind you will reveal fish. You will see some baitfish present. Duplicate their size with white flies. Crimp all hooks, making easy penetration possible with a quick release as the fish is still in the water. Hold your cast until the fish is facing you. Then cast to the fishes' side. The fly, with a 30-pound shock tippet, is then retrieved, duplicating an escaping baitfish. It should trigger a violent strike.
Tackle: An eight-weight, fast-action 9-foot rod is perfect and will allow you to quickly pick up a long cast if misplaced or refused. A second cast should be made immediately. Change fly patterns after several refusals of good presentations. If there is strong wave action, a clear, sinking tip line might work better than a floating one for better line management.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.