View Full Version : Tampa bay in early February

01-12-2008, 03:15 AM
Just found out that I will be in Tampa, FL on business during the first week of February and will possibly have time to fish. Problem is I have never attempted saltwater with a fly, won't have time for a guide, won't be buying an outfit just for this trip and the heaviest, most suitable rod I have is a 9' 7wt. With this in mind, the questions are:

1. What are some good fly patterns to use this time of year (i'll be tying my own)?

2. What can I expect to catch?

3. Where are some good spots to wade in the Tampa area?

01-14-2008, 10:11 AM
I'm from the Orlando area and I do not get to fish the Tampa Bay area but I grew up in St. Pete and use to fish the area often. FL gets some of its coldest weather in February so if you plan to wade bring waders.
There is a good article in the Jan/Feb 2008 American Angler about fishing the Tampa Bay area. It has some suggestions for rods, flies, and locations. The article correctly states that "the flats are wadable but difficult to access from shore". This is the case in part because of the soft sucking bottoms (you can easily sink ankle deep or more, depending on the location). This makes walking difficult and a mud plume will surround you. The flats are not necessarily close to shore. As the article says a canoe or kayak will afford a stealthy approach.

Fly shops are few and "guides" are plentiful. Bill Jackson's sporting shop in Pinellas Park has been in business since before the 70's . They have a fly fishing section and guys that may be able to give you some local and timely information. As I recall Byron has indicated some fishing experience in this area and he or others may have some suggestions.

Clousers in brown/tan can serve as small bait and shrimp imitations and are easy to tie. Chartreuse clousers also are a favorite. Crab imitations are also good.

After reading the article if you have questions about the access or anything that come to mind give me a response. Hope this helps. Even if conditons are not optimum and you are not sure of a good location, go for it and experience the bay, seagrasses, and mangroves.

Thanks for the question which reminds me I need to get back to St Pete for fishing.

01-16-2008, 01:19 AM
Thanks for the great info. Kinda disappointed about the flats not being very accessible by foot, but at least I know about the need for a kayak, and that sounds pretty fun all in itself. Do you know of a good place for kayak rentals as I don't think that Delta will let me check one of those?

01-16-2008, 10:55 AM
Not much help on the kayak rental since I have my own. I searched St Petersburg/Tampa Kayak rental and several came up. There are vendors that rent but I do not know how convenient they are to your location and how much time you have. Driving distance and traffic may be a consideration for you. Some are on rivers/creeks etc which could be worth looking into for a fishing experience.
The Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club has a web site (http://www.tbffc.org/index.html) with links, sponsors etc. that might be helpful.
Wish I could be more informative. If you settle on a region and have questions give me a response.

01-17-2008, 12:39 AM
Thank you! You've been a great help.

02-18-2008, 10:21 PM
Check out Dan Malzone,Orvis endorsed guide,Tampa native,http://www.flyfishingtampabay.com,none better,tell him the stealthman sent you

03-02-2008, 01:28 AM
Thanks for the help, but I took the trip the first week in February. The fishing stunk and so did the water. The stinky fishing was probably due to my saltwater inexperience. The stinky water was due to the raw sewage that the city dumps into the water. Figured that one after reading so many signs warning of it around the area. Apparently, the beaches in the area close at certain times because it is so bad. I thought that was lovely.