Fly fishing in Central Florida in January is definitely a mixed bag of weather and species.

Submitted by Scott Graham.

When the temperature goes down, so do the fish as they search for comfort and food.

Snook, speckled trout, Tarpon,  jacks, ladyfish, sheepshead, mangrove snapper and others will be available in the thermal refuge of residential canals with mud bottoms, freshwater springs, rivers and creeks.

During warm ups, redfish are typically the first to brave the skinny flats and the rest will follow.   Think about offering mullet, baitfish and shrimp patterns.  When targeting the Nature Coast, consider throwing weedless flies around the numerous rocks and oyster crossings. 

It may be slow fishing at first, but the action will eventually come around as the sun progresses.  Keep an eye out for birds, as they stalk or dive on bait fish.  Sometimes, a light ripple will signal the presence of bait.

Sometimes, it’s good to downsize your flies in cold water.

One of the challenges for the fly fisher, is covering a lot of water to locate fish.

Don’t be afraid to use your spinning and bait casting equipment to find fish.  Zara Spook and spoons are a great way to start.

Once you sense that you’re in the correct area, then break out the fly gear.

Ignore your offerings.  On most days, they will eventually eat, though. Both top water poppers or subsurface bait patterns can work.

Here’s a tip for Newbies!

Use small Clouser type flies, in size 1 or 2, to target mangrove snapper.  Chartreuse is a good color to start with.  Use a fair amount of flash too.  Often,  Juvenile “Mango’s” will attack small flies with a vengeance!  They tend to be be small, at around 8 inches, but put up a decent fight.  It’s a great opportunity to perfect your casting, retrieval methods, hook set, etc.

Rock shorelines that drop off fairly quickly to 4 or 5 feet are perfect.  When you get your casting down, try your luck at casting around and under docks.  Rocks and oysters will up your chances.

I highly recommend tying your own flies to up your enjoyment factor! Need a lesson or fly tying materials we have a large in store stock, stop on by the retail store in Dade City!