By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
Like a “rebirth”, the chill of winter abates across many areas of the state. Areas that held mild weather throughout most of the past three months took a bit of a hit to close February but the sun is climbing in the sky, the migration of baitfish and predator species is here. State-wide: March is an exciting time to get back out on the water! Florida has it’s challenges but there is still good action to be had if you make the right plan.
The Tampa Bay region–
Action will be great this month. The weather will dictate where you will find the fish. On hog day, the swine must have seen his shadow because indications are that the cold fronts are just not over yet. Baitfish have already started to return to the local waters and one steady warming trend could completely ramp up the fishing around the Bay. All the regular suspects for March are going to be caught. Sheepshead will remain an easy choice for the bridge folks. Big silver trout and whiting are easily caught on the Silly Willy/Teaser setup. The giant black drum will gang up in different locations on the flats all around Tampa Bay. The trout and redfish action will all be a matter of locating the fish. In and out of their normal patterns, they seem to be moving around a great deal, not consistently inhabiting the same areas for very long. Smooth weather may mean stellar fishing results on the 23rd. Choppy weather could make it an interesting contest.
Things have been pretty good overall but with obvious signs of accelerating action. The season of longer daylight hour means a lot of things, but most importantly, the return of baitfish to inshore waters. The south shore usually sees this first. This will jumpstart what was already “good” action on redfish and speckled trout.
The Skyway Pier are on fire for mackerel. The Silly Willy/Teaser rig is the best kept secret for hooking and catching a lot of mackerel in a short period of time. And it is much easier than slinging and cranking those spoons. Landing technique: It takes some practice but if you lean over the side, reel up all the slack and then launch the fish upward swiftly, the mackerel will come over the rail. Take care not to dangle fish on the surface for very long or you will be hooking pelicans. The Skyway piers have nets available for helping injured birds.
Things that haven’t been the same: Silver trout. Flounder. Redfish. Snook. To go back eleven years…
In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, Steve Gibson with Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing:
We look for continued hot action over the deep grass areas of Sarasota Bay for spotted seatrout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish. Redfish action should pick up on the shallow grass flats along the west side of the bay. Night snook action is expected to remain consistent around lighted docks.
The East coast of Florida, March is a great time to get out and try it out. One of the best months of the year for fishing around these parts. Big drum. Big redfish. Sheepshead and flounder. Even some snapper if you fish the structures.
In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway on the Wakulla River: http://www.tnthideaway.com/ . If you are going to be in Panama City, stop in and see Brad and his staff at Sunjammers: http://sunjammers.com/ March is a good month around the Big Bend/Panhandle. Get out there and get in on the action!
In Northeast Florida:
Redfish, trout, flounder and sheepshead top the list. It is time to shed a layer or two but always ready to dress for warmth and safety because winter may not be completely over. The indications are great for magnificent fishing around the NE FL sector. Great bait choices are jigs and Mirrolure plugs. Use big shrimp for sheepshead and drum. A little better all the time. We feel like we have a chance to do more fishing with warmer weather with longer periods of sunlight. Reds in the shallows during the calm wind days are showing themselves everywhere. Trout, we’ve got trout.
In the greater South Florida area:
The sun is heating up the fishing scene in South Florida. Without question, March is a great time to get back out if you took some time off. The offshore bite will be excellent for those with the right kayak for a deepwater outing. Flamingo and the ‘Glades will have just about everything you could dream of catching this month. Expect to do very well throughout the spring but do not miss out on the fun of March.
The tip of the month:
Take me to your leader: The leader line section of the store. It is mackerel time. If you do not have a spool of 40-pound, get some. It does not have to be fluorocarbon. Their teeth: 20 to 25-pound line does not hold up very well and while 30-pound has some merit, 40-pound is a very dependable choice. Keep some of that tackle and catch more of those fish. King mackerel is a whole other ballgame and a piece of wire is going to be necessary but 40-pound does the job on spanish mackerel.
Need help learning how to kayak fish? Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills! It is an investment in your fishing future.
Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there!
Neil Taylor, www.capmel.com site administrator