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 captpat.com and (727) 504-8649.