by Capt. Greg Stamper
March begins the first of the warming months and the transition into our Spring. Visitors flock into Southwest Florida for the great weather and to catch some fish! We have lots of fishing options, as water temperatures begin to rise. 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 is full speed for a while and that’s great, as lots of memories will be made.
March brings us 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 hopefully, and the beginning of Spring for Southwest Florida. As we begin seeing fewer cold fronts affecting our water temperatures, the warming trends begin. At first, it’s 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. Our prey will be everything from Sheepshead and pompano all the way to the beginning phases of tarpon season.
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. As bait schools work their way to the North from the South the predators follow. 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.
Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers Beach, Fl