Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Right time for fly anglers to target tarpon

Top thrill time: The greatest thrill in fly-fishing is available within minutes of our shores: large tarpon. Prevailing early morning easterly winds create calm conditions for early risers to scout the beaches for fish between 80 and 150 pounds that are easily seen as they roll on the surface. Quiet nights have them relaxed and happy, which encourages them to eat.

Technique: A few trips will help you find the beach areas they prefer, usually ones with baitfish. Having the sun at your back makes their silver bodies easier to see as they slowly roll on the surface. I have seen them inside the swim markers. Shallow water will improve your chances. A push pole is ideal for stealthily putting your boat ahead of moving fish. Electric motors would be necessary in deeper water, but they are more likely to alert the fish to your presence. The tarpon should come to you for a head-on shot, the most successful approach.

Prepare: An 11- or 12-weight fly rod with a floating or a clear sink-tip lines that can be comfortably cast to 50 feet is needed. A 10-foot leader with a 60-pound butt section, 20-pound class tippet and 60- to 80- pound shock tippet will attach to your fly. A toad pattern (such as the fly of the month featured May 6 on the Gulf & Bay page) is ideal, although Keys-type flies are also popular. Lighter color flies will replace combinations of black and purple for early morning and low-light conditions as the day brightens. Yellow polarized glasses offer the best visibility. Resist setting the hook with a couple of hard strip strikes until you feel the fish. Then hang on for a thrill.

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

Captains corner: Right time for fly anglers to target tarpon 05/11/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.