Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Report


This week a cold front moved in and brought us some overnight air temps in the 40's. This really brought the water temps down significantly. The quick change put the fish off for a day or two but the last 2 sunny days have the bite back on track. I am in the middle of a 9 day run of being on the water with clients so I have been adjusting tactics to the changing weather.

With the cooler weather Trout are a good choice to target. Redfish are also pretty indifferent to the type of varying weather that we've been having. Right now afternoons are the best time to be on the water especially if you are planning to fish the flats.

In the morning the Trout have been laid up in the deeper cuts, channels and in the deeper water just off the flats. 8' to 10' with grass or adjacent grass holds them best. In the afternoons they have been pushing up the flats to feed. There are still a good amount of tiny baitfish on the flats.

The last 2 days most of the fish have been in 4' of water. I have found very few in the thin water. Despite the fact that you have to search around for them a bit, my guests have been running the numbers up most every day.

Clouser minnows are still reliable in chartreuse and white, blue and white, tan and white. Shrimp patterns are also working well. There have been a few instances recently where shrimpy looking creations have worked exclusively. My favorite are Olive, Rusty Brown and Pink. I tie all of these on #2 hooks and they are on the smaller size, about 3". Below are the type of shrimp that I tie. Pretty simple I just vary the colors schemes.

I have not been sight fishing Redfish much lately since most of my trips have been half days and that type of fishing is time consuming. We have however been taking some while fishing trout. Most of the deep cuts have good amounts of Reds laid up in them especially during the negative low tides. These fish are not in the chasing down mood at this time. To catch them regularly I have had to strip so slowly that it is almost painful. One of the best methods during periods of cold water is to let your fly get down near the bottom and take about 2 inch strips with long, long pauses. Most of the Reds that we've been finding have been juvenile sized. All of the reds in the photos were coaxed from the deeper water cuts.

With the cooler water temperatures you will have to head into the back country, up the rivers or the residential canals for Snook. Every day this week I have had no trouble finding some willing fly eaters for my guests. Today with the bright sunshine the bite was very good. Some of the areas we fished were pretty loaded with both Snook and Jack Crevale. Most of the snook have been decent sized. The jacks have ranged from tiny up to 20 pounders. Here are some from today.

Bigger Baitfish imitations are working best right now. 5" to 6" have been my go to but I have been fishing 8" flies with good success. Whenever I see a big snook laying in the sun the fly below is my go to. Today we had 2 real giants inhale this fly but neither made it to hand.

Currently we are closing out a batch of the exact flies that I use every day. Click the link for details and to purchase. https://baxterhouseflyfishing.com/collections/flies/products/e-p-baitfish-minnow-fly

With the current cool water, negative low tides and bright sunny days now is a prime time to find and sight fish big snook.

Give us a call today to talk fishing and schedule your next Tampa Bay Fly Fishing adventure! 607-290-4022

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