What's hot: Warming water has encouraged larger and prolific schools of baitfish to invade Tampa Bay. This is the rite of spring that all shallow-water anglers have been anticipating because larger predators have been waiting, too. While tying flies at our Suncoast Fly Fishers booth recently at Tropicana Field, many people at the Tampa Boat Show wanted to know what fly to use for consistent success. Fellow club members and I gave them chartreuse over white Clouser minnows, a pattern that duplicates many local prey.
Technique: Once fish are located, by watching diving birds or seeing nervous water — a sure sign of moving fish — the fly must be presented to duplicate a baitfish. Size does matter, and if trout, snook and reds are keyed in on 2-inch threadfins, a fly of that size should be selected. After a successful cast, controlling the fly line is the secret. Rather than letting go of the line with the line hand when the rod stops its forward movement, allow the shooting line to slide through a circle made by the line hand's thumb and index finger. Pinching the line at the right time as the fly approaches a target will assure accuracy and eliminate slack as the fly gently enters the water. With the rod tip close to the water, you can work the fly, detect a strike, strip set the hook or begin another cast. Mastering this technique will greatly improve your catching success.
Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.