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Tampa Bay Fly Fishing / Light Tackle Report - February

Capt. Ethan Kiburz
March 3, 2021
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

February seems to be the start of our spring as the water temperatures climb back into the 70's with long spells of gorgeous, warm weather. Snook seem like they just appear out of no where on the flats that were only holding redfish and speckled sea trout the day before and the water begins to gain what seems like sediment, if it's had a chance to really get warm. We can now expect our quarry to start seeking shade on the warmer than normal "spring days" and the bait will begin to show back up on the flats!

Snook will feed heavily in the afternoons this time of year after the water has had a chance to warm up. Outgoing tides always provide a little warmer water especially if they occur in the afternoon and it has a ton of impact on their metabolism. Fly anglers do especially well with flies that have a silent entry on fish that are stationary or next to the mangroves. Weed guards are always a must as they become mangrove guards when trying to fish tight to structure. Artificial anglers will start to see some love on walk-the-dog style topwaters and suspended twitch baits. We can expect them to stay on the flats until the water begins to reach into the upper 70's and then they will work their way to higher tidal areas where they will spawn in the summer months.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Redfish have not slowed down one bit and that really the beauty of the species. Year round we can target them but their pattern begin to change slightly with the warming water. Looking for them under the bushes or bouncing from bush to bush on higher tides and also in slightly deeper water than normal on the low tides. They have the ability to withstand an incredible temperature range but cooler water provides more oxygen and the water on our flats can get hot, quickly. Mangrove points, depressions, and spots that get a good amount of tidal flow will be imperative as the temps climb. Not only are our typical winter fly patterns still going to work the next couple months but it won't be a bad idea to use a pattern like an EP baitfish since we are starting to see some bait on the flats.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Spotted sea trout really deserve a ton of credit this winter. Since the closure of all three species almost 3 years ago, they've bad an incredible come back! It seems like you can't go anywhere no without seeing good quality trout mixed in with the mullet and redfish. About ninety percent of the time, they are laying motionless on the bottom and almost impossible to see ahead of time due to their perfect camo. On the off chance, when the conditions are perfect, fly rods anglers to good with lightly weighted flies placed so they drag across the fishes field of view. Spotted sea trout are suckers for jerkbaits and the depth of the water will dictate whether we use an 1/8 oz., 1/4 oz., or a weighted weedless hook.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

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Captain Ethan specializes in Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Fishing all of Tampa Bay from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs. Fishing the flats, back country or at night for tarpon, snook, redfish and more. All experience levels are welcome and expect to have a great time on an instructional trip aimed to up your game!

Contact Info:

Tampa Fly Fishing Guide
59 Valencia Circle
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Phone: 727-278-4707
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