What's hot: Get out early and walk our beaches with your fly rod. The sun at your back will improve visibility so that protected snook can be seen in the wash within feet of the sand. Generally a large female will be surrounded by smaller males involved in courting. Early morning incoming tides will improve the bite. Fish will congregate on passes with good flow and structure.
Equipment: A fast action 8-weight fly rod with a sinking tip rather than a floating line will perform better if there is any wave action. Stay on the sand, cast parallel to the shoreline, and keep your shadow away from targeted fish.
Technique: Good brown- to yellow-tinted Polaroid glasses are necessary to improve vision. Hold your cast until fish are spotted. Then carefully cast a size 1 to 2 white baitfish pattern in front of the snook, working the offering in long, erratic strips. When a snook shows interest, increase the speed of your retrieve to mimic a frantic, escaping baitfish; this triggers a violent strike. Crimp barbs on all hooks and quickly release fish carefully by holding the hook near the bend and giving a twist while keeping the fish in the water.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.