Fly Report By: Gabe Littlefield

New Year: Fresh Start

Now that January is here, we have a wide array of fly fishing opportunities. From redfish and speckled trout on the flats to chunky largemouth bass in our local ponds, this is a great time to get out and fish.

For this month, I want to highlight the advantages of fly fishing for largemouth bass. With crazy wind and extremely low tides, it can be difficult to have a successful day of flats fishing. This is where your local pond, lake or river shines through.

Fly fishing for bass is a great way to introduce someone to fly fishing, but it also helps to hone the veteran angler’s skills. Bass usually are more willing to take a popping bug or streamer and provide great action in a lull.

Look for largemouths near lily pads, reeds and grass edges throughout the day. For pond anglers, this is a great opportunity to catch some quality fish. With the cooler temperatures, try a slow retrieve to draw aggressive strikes from lazy mossbacks.

As for those with kayaks, canoes or jon boats, the rivers and lakes surrounding Tampa Bay are great locations for happy fish. Look for schooling fish throughout the day crashing bait. Streamers are best used in this situation by casting on the edges of the commotion. Also, target shallow shoreline structure like docks, seawalls and vegetation as the day warms up.

For equipment, any set up between a 6 to 8 weight is perfect for this sporty fish. Floating line works best for me and allows you to see a subtle bite easier. For fly selection, deer hair poppers and divers, streamers and crawfish patterns work well. Don’t be afraid to throw gurglers either, because these flies are excellent for spooky fish on topwater.

Lake Tarpon, Tenoroc Management area and the Hillsborough River are great locations to start your search. Also, don’t ignore your local pond, because your personal best could be waiting there for you.

As always, I hope your new year is full of great memories and big fish. Good luck and enjoy 2020!

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