Thursday, May 24, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Head to the flats

What's hot: Flats fishing in shallow water will improve as water temperatures cool. But anchoring in one spot for hours where you caught fish on a previous outing is a prescription for failure. Tides, weather, water temperature and wind affect not only where fish will be, but their willingness to strike your fly.

Technique: Use the wind and tide to pick a grass flat and minimize boat manipulation. If alone, a bow-mounted electric motor run at slow speed can keep you on course without frightening fish. Poling the boat with a partner is preferred. Your ability to see fish is improved on a sunny day. When you can't see fish, cast to grass edges (especially irregularities), pot holes (clear areas in the grass) or where you see nervous water or scattering baitfish.

Tip: Casting far is an advantage, so lawn practice will fine-tune your distance and accuracy. Reds, trout and snook will be boat shy in the shallows. Use flies that match available baitfish in size and color. Keep your rod tip close to the water to feel strikes, strip set a sharp hook and start your next cast without slack.

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

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