Flyrodding snook and tarpon: Beach fishing for large tarpon has been difficult because of westerly winds. Waves and discolored water make it impossible to see fish in the shallows. Using a fly rod has not been as successful as when conditions are calm. Snook along the beaches have been challenging. But snook and smaller tarpon are available by changing tactics.
Tackle: Equipment for both species is similar. An 8- or 9-weight fly rod, floating weight forward line, and a 9-foot leader tapered to 20 pounds should have a shock tippet of 30- to 40-pound fluorocarbon monofilament. Fly patterns should match baitfish in color and size. Deceivers, Puglisi patterns and Clouser minnows work. White should be the predominant color.
Where to look: Rivers that run into the bay and ocean have held good numbers of baby tarpon and large snook. When you locate baitfish, predators will be near. Both species are structure oriented. Get out before daylight and fish lighted docks and bridges. The lights attract plankton, baitfish will feed on the microorganisms and large snook and tarpon will look for the easy pickings. Check tide charts and find large fish in the current waiting for an easy meal.
Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com or (727) 504-8649.