Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club

January 2018 Fishing Report and Forecast

"What a Great time to go Fishing!"

Capt Pat Damico provides this report from his Captain’s Corner:

Good time for shallow water flats fishing:
Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very skinny water, which allows them to be sight fished. Cold, early morning water temperatures will climb as the sun in protected shallow areas creates a warm, friendly environment for southern fish. As the tide comes in, large trout will appear frequently residing in sand holes, lighter appearing openings in the grass, where they await unsuspecting baitfish. Water in sand holes is a little deeper than the adjacent grassy area, offering them a better sense of security. Prop scars are often used by large fish to more easily enter the shallows undetected.

We have found that artificial lures and flies must be worked slowly on the bottom to be effective. Several casts to sand holes revealed large fish that blew out as our boat approached their lair. Approaching carefully on foot and making long casts that are accurate will increase chances for success. Fly designs that have the hook pointed upward in chartreuse and white as well as chartreuse and pink produced most hookups, especially in clear water. Discolored water often favors brown over orange or black over purple. Large sheepshead will be there and prefer small flies that replicate sand fleas, one of their favorite foods.

Pat Damico charters lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at or (727) 504-8649.

Capt Rick Grassett suggests with the water temperature in the low 70’s, action with Spanish mackerel, albies, tripletail and cobia in the coastal gulf should continue. There should also be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

Kayak guide, Neil Taylor
reports generally we have good action, but we have not yet hit the peak of the wintertime bite. Big trout became easier to catch the past two weeks. Redfish action is good if you are in the exact right spots. Bluefish for sure have been a big story. Seven pound bluefish on fly is something you are unlikely to ever forget. Pompano action is probably over until spring but don't be surprised if they are accidental catches this time of year.

The Cypress Park flat continues to hold schools of redfish. They hang on the outside bar on the lowest tides and come up on the flat as the tide comes in. New and full moon tides are best with the lowest lows and good moving water. Fish small shrimp or crab flies on long leaders down to 12 lb and cast will ahead of spooky fish. The MacDll flat is also fishing well with reds, sheepshead and black drum. Fish the lowest negative tides during the New Year.

















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