Inshore remains the best bet! What a crazy few weeks we have had! Cold and windy to hot and calm, the weather just can’t seem to make up its mind! Regardless, the nearshore fishing has been very slow, with water temps in the high 50’s to low 60’s, there hasn’t been much bait or predators. There have been a few sheepshead and pompano, which seem to like the cooler temps. With this being said, the inshore redfish and trout bite really can’t be beat. Some days we have even had as many as 50 fish, including slot redfish and gator trout, and the occasional big ugly (black drum). I have been finding most fish in the little bit deeper areas, two to three feet, whether it’s been a windblown point, edge of a grass flat, or a trough in between docks and mangroves; the depth has really been the key to my success. I noticed the manatees are finally working their way back to the flats, this typically means we won’t be seeing as much cold. With hopes of a warm up, I think we will still have pretty consistent redfish and trout fishing, the drum will more than likely slow down, and the nearshore should pick back up with catches of redfish, possible drum, and even the possibility for some tripletail.
Will it be March Fishing Madness or will we just be mad at March? Historically, this month, anglers along the Central East Coast literally set their sights on cobia. I say historically, but if we don’t see a good cobia run this March, I might be referring to it as in ancient times next year. Cobia are a very temperature-oriented fish that do not like to tolerate anything below 67 degrees or above 76 degrees with 68 to 70 being the best temperature. In the year of a polar vortex (whatever that is) it does not give me a warm feeling, nor much hope for a good cobia season. That being said, we do need something different this March compared to the last few years, so let’s try a polar vortex.
Scanning the water and straining your eyes to the limits will have many of us spending endless hours in search of the rush that is infectious once you have experienced your first successful cobia trip. Your most important tool is an accurate seawater temp gauge. You can also subscribe to real time seawater temperature charts to help you get an idea of where to start. Just be careful because things change quickly and I have seen that so-called real-time data way off the mark and has sent me chasing my tail a time or two. Most of the time, in the beginning of the season, you work south and offshore until you find 68 degrees and then start looking. Once you find your first fish, stick to that general area, because it is amazing how that half mile to mile section will be where they decide to pop that day. Cobia are not picky eaters, so a jig tipped with squid or a plain hook with a live bait will usually do the trick. Try to lead the fish and don’t hit them in the head or snag the manta ray they might be with. Later in the season you will start to broaden your search. The theory is they are migrating to the north as water temperatures become tolerable.
March can be a fantastic month and honestly it is pretty easy to figure out without even stepping foot on your boat. If you go outside and it is warm and the wind is not blowing, let it peak your interest. If you go outside a second and third day, with warm calm conditions, then gear up to go look for cobia and tripletail that afternoon. If you get into day four or five days with the same conditions, then plan an early trip and go live-bait troll the reefs or bottom fish in the morning, because the king fish and stringer fish, such as triggers and lane snappers, will be ready to let loose. In the afternoon, work back to where the water temperature just hits 68 and start looking. Remember, early in the season, for any of these game plans, your focus will be to the south and then more spread out as water temperatures climb. If it remains cold and windy save your sick days and your money and wait for April.
We hope for a great March and look forward to seeing everyone on the water.
All Water Adventures, located at Sunrise Marina behind Grills in Port Canaveral, offers the full spectrum of on-the-water activities. Each trip is run by full time guides of our family owned businesses. They have a love and passion for the area and what they do. If you want to get on the water for some fishing or just relaxing, then give them a shout. 321-222-7511 – www.AllWaterAdventures.com