By: Brian Timmins
Over the weekend of March 25 to 30 this year my wife and I were in the Tampa area of Florida to attend a reunion. We were busy the first few days but found that we had nothing planned for Monday the 29th. Since I did my homework before leaving home, I dug out my notes, made one call, and arranged a charter trip the night before (last minute luck).
I contacted Angler South Inc. which advertises “Classic Flats Fishing” on Tampa Bay and in Sarasota. This turned out to be Captain Tom Shubat, formerly of the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound. While this was a new name to me, I’m sure some of our longer-term members will remember him, or at least his several articles on fishing Long Island Sound. He currently has an article in Fly Fishing In Salt Water about the recovering permit fishery in Tampa Bay. He operates out of Anna Maria Island, which is on the south side of the mouth of Tampa Bay, close to Sarasota.
We booked Capt. Tom for a half day and had a wonderful experience. We met at 9:00 A.M. and after a short drive to his boat, we settled in on his Mako Marine flats boat (our first time on a real flats boat). We first tried fishing for Sea Trout along a sea wall that usually produces well early in the morning. No luck, but I’m sure he was also evaluating our casting ability. We then stopped at a marina gassed up and headed out into the bay.
We stopped by a fairly deep flat and started hooking up with Ladyfish of 20 to 24 inches. We landed a few and jumped a few more. These fish must breathe air based on the way they jump. This was great fun, which included my wife’s first ever fly caught salt-water fish.