What's hot: Super low tides last week were perfect for sightfishing redfish with a fly rod. They and clear water make it more difficult for reds to hide not only from you, but predators that forage the shallows for food. Observe exposed flats looking for variations in depth that will be used as highways so reds can move more easily. Areas that are barely wet and have large numbers of wading birds will have redfish rooting for food as the tide comes in.
Tips: If mullet are invading the shallows, redfish will mix in to capture fleeing crustaceans, shrimp or baitfish. Explore mullet schools with a baitfish imitation that covers more water than a crab or shrimp-type fly.
Tactics: If you observe a bronze tail slowly waving at you — frequently with others nearby — you have struck gold. Hold your cast until you are within range, preferably them moving toward you. Then cast a small crab pattern to the closest one. If you pull the fly toward his face, he will explode and scare the others. Large fish aren't accustomed to being attacked by tiny creatures they eat. The best shot is a fish coming straight to you or at a slight angle. Drop your offering carefully in his path then give a tantalizing twitch to trigger a vicious strike.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.