Fly Fishing in February

Fly Fishing in February

The winter time in the Tampa Bay area can provide for some of the most exciting sight fishing of the year. Extreme low tides, gun clear water, and tough winds can characterize the fishery for most of the winter. Fly fishing this time of year can be some of the most technically challenging fishing you'll experience.

Redfish can often be found in groups of 20+ fish. Cruising It can be difficult to get a fly in front of a group of fish. However, with a little observation and a long lead with the fly, you can usually entice a strike with a slow moving crab fly stripped through the school. Use a long light leader, keep the fly on the bottom, and don't be afraid to use a smaller fly than you think you need. The fly has to be on the bottom, and moving away from the fish before they get all the way to it. You can also crawl the fly through the middle of the school making it look like a lead fish exposed a small crab on the bottom. 

Tailing fish can be found on either side of low tides all throughout Tampa Bay up through the nature coast. While they can be spooky and hard to feed its a ton of fun to stalk these fish on low water situations. Consider leaving the boat behind and wading to the spooky fish. This can sometimes get you to a little closer to make a better presentation. 

Speckled Trout can also be sight fished hanging around the edges of flats, potholes, and troughs. If you find them in deeper water consider stripping a weighted shrimp fly really slow. These fish will not chase a fly as much in the winter time as they do in warmer water. 

No matter the situation, scaling down your leader size, tippet, and fly size can buy you some bites you might not get otherwise. My go to is a 9' 10lb tapered leader with 0X Cortland premium tippet. It's also a great time to consider using a smaller weight fly rod and reel. Lighter fly line that lands softer on the water can be a great way to sneak a fly in front of some spooky fish. Consider adding a 6wt or 7wt to the quiver to do just that. 

Pond hopping offers a haven for getting some fishing done on the windier days around the fronts that move through often this time of year. Covering some water with a topwater fly can get you fishing on days where putting the boat in the water seems like more of a chore. It's also a great time and place to work on your casting in a place where you may catch some fish. The ponds that make up our whole area can offer world class bass fishing. 

Check out some of our favorite gear for winter time fishing here

Watch Marco, Brandon, and Alex spin up some great winter time redfish patterns on our youtube channel. 

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1 comment

Great info. Thanks guys!!

Mark A Spillane

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