Escape the wind: Fly fisherman need flexibility this time of year with frequent cold fronts and windy conditions being the norm. On some of the worse days we went to one of the many rivers that empty into the gulf or bay. When you travel up a river it becomes narrower and is protected by trees and often high banks, affording both you and the fish warmth and protection.
Species variety: Snook, jacks, reds, ladyfish and small tarpon can be caught next to bass and panfish. It's best to rig several rods: one with a floating line, another with a clear sinking tip and a third with full sinking line. This way you can fish the shallows as well as deeper water. When sightfishing is not possible, target structure, such as points, feeder creeks, stumps, partially submerged trees and bridges with small flies, size 6-1, that imitate the baitfish you observe.
Tip: Develop a pattern after catching a few fish and concentrate on the conditions that rewarded you.
Fly fisherman Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpat.com and (727) 504-8649.