by Capt. Greg Stamper
It’s the busiest time of the year from now thru June for seasoned guides and March begins the first of the warming months. Visitors flock throughout Southwest Florida to watch spring training baseball, hang out in excellent weather, and catch some fish! The targetable species opens greatly now, as we begin the transition into Spring. It’s not to say that the weather will always be spot on but, it’s going to start trending toward fantastic most of the month. As guides it’s full speed for a while and that’s great as lots of memories will be made.
One of the best parts moving into March is we get to target both the transitional fish that visit us during the winter as well as the resurgence of our Summer quarry. It’s also the end of the real cold fronts and the beginning of Spring, from Southwest Florida South. Our prey will be everything from Sheepshead and pompano all the way to the beginning phases of tarpon season.
As we begin seeing fewer cold fronts effecting our water temperatures, the warming trends begin. At first its nothing considerable, but as we approach April it becomes apparent. Some days especially toward the end of the month we may even feel that first hit of higher humidity in the early morning hours.
Pompano fishing along our beaches and certainly in our local passes will be full speed. Shrimp tipped jigs, small flies that mimic sand fleas or small crabs will be your best bets. Mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, and even small sharks will be bi-catch during this time. The back-bays will be full speed for redfish ranging from 16 to 35 inches and found all over as bait schools work their way to the North. Snook now begin to get curious and will be very targetable, especially during the warm weeks. Whitebait, small mullet, and hand-picked shrimp won’t stand a chance as snook get ready to move back out of their winter haunts.
The offshore bite will continually get better and better. Anglers will have more chances to get out with less wind caused by cold fronts. This pattern gives anglers a lot more opportunities to catch mangrove, yellowtail, mutton, and lane snapper, as well as grouper, kingfish, permit, and cobia. When running out to those offshore areas, don’t forget to stop around those shrimp boats posted up, as you never know what’s hanging around.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
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