Saturday, March 17, 2018

Captain's Corner: Lower tides, cooler water increase sight fishing opportunities

Fun times: The ultimate thrill for a fly fisherman is carefully presenting a fly to a large, unsuspecting fish in shallow water and enjoying an aggressive take. The combination of early morning skinny water — which gives fish a chance to relax overnight from daytime disturbances — and lack of summer floating grass means fishing will continue to improve.

Large trout, redfish: Watch for disturbances. Herons and pelicans will fly over shallow flats, disturb fish and give you a target. Small baitfish scattering often reveal positions of large trout, redfish and snook. A tail slowly waving will belong to a redfish digging for a crab or shrimp. Being stealth is key. Wading will get you closer than most boats. Move like a feeding heron to prevent ripples on calm water that alert fish to an intruder's presence.

Equipment, technique: Equip your 7- or 8-weight fly rod with a 12-foot tapered leader. A 15- to 20-pound tippet might be needed. A loop knot tied to a size 2-4 crab pattern with bead chain eyes and weed guard complete the setup. Remember, crustaceans move very slowly. If you have follows and refusals, go slower. Always strip set the hook when the fish is felt. Avoid setting the hook by raising the tip of the rod.

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


It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18

Captainís Corner: The right location means big trout numbers

It is peak time for catching large numbers of trout. A "spring thing" right now, it is not unusual to put up a big number with a number of quality-sized fish being caught. This should continue for another two months. For tackle and techniques, trout ...
Published: 03/05/18
Updated: 03/07/18