Tampa Bay On The Fly

What’s Biting Now

Slideshow – What’s Biting
Slideshow – What’s Biting
Slideshow – What’s Biting

Pompano









Description: greenish gray on back, shading to silvery sides; fish in dark waters showing gold on throat, pelvic, and anal fins; deep flattened body with small mouth; no scutes; 22 to 27 soft dorsal rays; 20 to 23 soft anal rays; origin of anal fin slightly behind origin of second dorsal.

Where found: INSHORE and NEARSHORE waters, especially along sandy beaches, along oyster banks, and over grassbeds, often in turbid water; may be found in water as deep as 130 feet.

Size: usually less than 3 pounds.

Florida Record: 8 lbs, 1 oz.

Remarks: spawns OFFSHORE between March and September; feeds on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas; local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.

How to catch: from the beach, over the sandy bottom

Flies to use: small crustacean patters, clousers and shrimp patterns.




Black Drum







 

 


Description: high arched back; 10 to 14 pairs of chin barbels; gray or black colored body in adults; young have 4 to 6 vertical bars; has cobblestone-like teeth capable of crushing oysters; scales large.

Where found: INSHORE fish common to bays and lagoons; bottom dweller often found around oyster beds; also OFFSHORE.

Size: common to 30 pounds.

Florida Record: 93 lbs.

Remarks: largest member of the drum family; spawns NEARSHORE in winter and early spring; feeds on oysters, mussels, crabs, shrimp and occasionally fish; longevity to 35 or more years.

How to catch: Look for the Black Drum in the same environs as Red Fish. 

Flies to Use: crustacean and shrimp patterns.



Red Grouper









Description: color brownish red; lining of mouth scarlet-orange; blotches on sides in unorganized pattern; second spine of dorsal fin longer than others; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins; squared off tail; margin of soft dorsal black with white at midfin; black dots around the eyes.

Where found: bottom dwelling fish associated with hard bottom; juveniles OFFSHORE along with adults greater than 6 years old; fish from 1 to 6 years occupy NEARSHORE reefs.

Size: common to 15 pounds.

Florida Record: 39 lbs., 8 ozs.

Remarks: spawns in April and May; prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F; undergoes sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age; lifespan of at least 25 years; feeds on squid, crustaceans, and fish.

How to catch: use deep sinking lines.

Flies to Use: clousers and deceivers.



Amberjack






 

 

Description: dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and “lights up” when fish is in feeding mode; no scutes; soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base.

Where found: OFFSHORE species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water; sometimes caught NEARSHORE in south Florida; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.

Size: common to 40 pounds.

Florida Record: 142 lbs.

Remarks: largest of the jacks; thought to spawn OFFSHORE throughout most of the year; feeds on squid, fish, and crustaceans.

How to catch: offshore, with deep sinking fly lines chummed up to the top.

Flies to Use: Deceivers clousers and poppers




Sea Trout


Description: pale body color, yellow above, silver to white below; one or two prominent canine teeth usually at tip of upper jaw; inside of mouth yellow; no well-defined black spots on back; 10 to 12 soft rays in anal fin; no chin barbels.
Where found: a Gulf species that may occur in the Atlantic waters of extreme south-eastern Florida; adults predominantly found INSHORE residing in bays and inlets but may move OFFSHORE during winter months; young occur INSHORE in shallow bays.
Size: usually less than 1 pound (10 to 12 inches).
*Florida Record: n/a
Remarks: matures during first or second year; prolonged INSHORE spawning season extends through spring and summer; feeds mainly on small fish and shrimp.
How to Catch: 5-9wt fly rods, typically floating fly lines 8-12′ leader in 8-15# test, flies with light to medium strength hooks in sizes #6 to 1/0
Flies to Use: Sea Ducer, Clouser Minnow, Popper



Snook


Description: distinct lateral line; high, divided dorsal fin; sloping forehead; large mouth, protruding lower jaw; grows much larger than other snooks; pelvic fin yellow.
Where found: from central Florida south, usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings NEARSHORE.
Size: most catches 5 to 8 pounds.
*Florida Record: 44 lbs., 3 ozs.
Remarks: spawns primarily in summer; cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees F; can tolerate wholly fresh or saltwater; schools along shore and in passes during spawning season; feeds on fish and large crustaceans.
How to Catch: 6-9wt fly rods, , floating, intermediate or combination fly line , 8-12′ leader with bite tippet from 20-40# test, flies with medium strength hooks in sizes #4 to 1/0
Flys to use: Deceiver, Snook-a-Roo, Gummy Minnow



Cobia


Description: long, slim fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail; first dorsal fin comprised of 7 to 9 free spines; when young, has conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripes.
Where found: both INSHORE and NEARSHORE inhabiting inlets, bays, and among mangroves; frequently seen around bouys, pilings, and wrecks.
Size: common to 30 pounds.
Florida Record: 103 lbs., 12 ozs.
Remarks: spawns in spring and early summer; feeds on crabs, squid, and small fish.
How to catch: 8-12wt fly rods, sinking or floating fly lines, 6-15’ leader with 15-30# test  flies with medium strength hooks in sizes #2 -2/0
Flies to use: Deceiver, Popper, Sea Ducer



Redfish

Description: chin without barbels; copper bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.

Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size: a Red Fish of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.

Florida Record: 51 lbs., 8 ozs.

Remarks: red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches (4 years), then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEARSHORE waters; sudden cold snaps may kill red drum in shallow, INSHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more.

How to catch: 6-9wt fly rods, typically floating fly lines 8-12′ leader in 8-15# test, sinking flies when tailing, suspending flies when in deeper water, flies with medium strength hooks in sizes #8 to 1/0

Flies to use: Redfish Toad, Bonafide Crab, Enver’s Fleeing Shrimp


Saltwater Fish Calendar

available  = available
available  = good time
available  = best time
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Tarpon available available available available available available available available available available available available
Redfish available available available available available available available available available available available available
Trout available available available available available available available available available available available available
Snook available available available available available available available available available available available available
Permit     available available available available available available available available available  
Ladyfish available available available available available available available available available available available available
Bluefish available available available available available available available available available available available available
Little Tunny     available available available available available available available available available available
King Mackerel     available available available available available available available available available  
Spanish Mackerel available available available available available available available available available  
Jack Crevalle available available available available available available available available available available available available
Pompano available available available available available available available available available available available available
Amberjack available available available available available available available available available available available available
Black Drum available available available available available available available available available available available available
Cobia available available available available available available available available available available available available
Barracuda available available available available available available available available available available available available
Shark available available available available available available available available available available available available
Grouper available available available available available available available available available available available available
Sheepshead available available available available available available available available available available available available
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

available  = available
available  = good time
available  = best time