Spring is here and so is the bait! Everything including tarpon, snook, redfish, seatrout, mackerel, and ladyfish will be focusing on the whitebait in the area. With the water temperatures in the mid to high 70’s, we can finally expect to see things "pop." Using flies that imitate scaled sardines such as a chartreuse and white EP baitfish has brought the most success.
Snook can be found in transition to their summertime spawning grounds. With the recent warming trend over the past few weeks, snook have been extra aggressive after being confined due to the cooler winter temperatures. Fly Fishing for snook at night is extremely productive due to the fact that they are nocturnal. Heavier rods and tippet are required when fishing around the lighted docks and flies that are smaller will be more productive than the larger patterns when night fishing.
Sight fishing for redfish can become a little more difficult when the water gets warm in Tampa Bay. This is because the grass on the flats gets longer and these fish become harder to see. The best time to target them is on the lower tides on the new and full moon phases when they are waiting for the incoming tide to bring water on the flat. When conditions are right, these fish will root in the grass and tail, looking for shrimp or crabs.
Tarpon have made there way out of their winter haunts and are working their way to the beaches. The water has been warming quick and it won’t be long before we start seeing some fish on the beach. Heavier rods (10-12wt) and heavier leaders (50-80lb) are a must.