Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Report
Great Action on the Fly!
Over the last 2 weeks I have been on the water every day. The fishing is excellent and there are plenty of options for fly anglers. Michele and I have been fishing a lot and we had guides Matt and Luc with us for a week.
Most every day we are encountering multiple species and really running the numbers up. Water temperatures are still real warm for the date. Most everywhere I have been fishing the water has been in the low 80's. Bait fish are everywhere and the ecosystem is humming along.
Snook, Redfish and Spotted Trout remain closed to harvest. Snook are in the second year of closure while Trout and Redfish are in their first season of closure. There is already a big difference in the numbers of these fish and their average size is up.
This is great news for us fly anglers and even better news for my clients who plan on fishing with me this winter.
The Snook action has been excellent on the flats, in the passes and back country. The back country has tons of juvenile fish and some areas are producing strikes on almost every cast. The bigger fish are in the passes and the areas open to the bay. The fish are very active on the flats when the tide is moving. We have been getting quality sight fishing opportunity with huge snook every day. Below is guide Luc with a nice one taken from the bay side mangroves.
Redfish are around in good numbers. I have not put a lot of time on specifically targeting Reds until today. During the outgoing today we targeted a few of my favorite Redfish hangouts. I had my uncle with me and he fished Artificials while I worked the fly.
He had pretty steady action and I managed a few. together we were into double digits with mostly 15" to 22" Reds. A lot were like the one below.
This week we also had plenty of opportunity to sight cast to mature Redfish on the flats. These are the toughest fish to fool on the fly. Persistence and great casting payed off for guide Matt with the nice Red below.
Trout are around in good numbers but I have only been targeting them briefly while running between locations where we have been chasing larger fish. When we have been fishing them they have been easy. Clousers fished slowly have been keeping the rods bent. I have been quite impressed with the difference in the Trout numbers after only less than a year of protection. The average size is up and I have taken quite a few over slot fish. I have not taken many photos of trout but here are two from recent trips.
The main reason that I have not spent any substantial time on any one species is the abundance of opportunity at this time. Right now there lots of other things to chase that will not be available after the water cools down a bit.
First is Tarpon. There are quite a few around. Over the last week I have found large Tarpon every day. With all of the available fish around they seem well fed and content. We have only found them interested in feeding one day. A few follows but no hookups. Still have to try and make them eat when we find them.
The other fishing that has been occupying time has been fishing the bait schools. There is plenty of opportunity now with blitzing fish. We have been finding Jacks, Mackerel, Pompano and Ladyfish. The action has been hot and when it's on you get a strike on every cast.
During Guide Matt and Guide Luc's visit we fished these schools with #5 and #6 fly rods until our arms were sore. Below are some photos and some video footage. The video is long 7:17, uncut footage of Matt and I getting at them. Pretty cool fish.
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