March is here and the fishing in East-Central Florida is picking up steam heading into the spring. Water temperatures are consistently warming, and in turn, producing a more consistent bite for all inshore fish. Redfish have been the number one target in all area lagoons and rivers. Schools and pods of smaller 5-10lb reds are on the mud flats, oyster and shell bars, and there are big trophy sizes 20-40lb’rs starting to show on the edges of flats. Speckled trout have been shadowing bait pods that are getting more active with the warmer water. When either of those have been slow, black drum have been there to save a day. Crystal clear water is yielding excellent sight casting conditions for fly and light tackle lure anglers, but the live bait fishing conditions are also ripening as the spring bait run gets ready to start. Pick your poison, spring is in the air.
Redfish are our top priority moving into March in the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and the backwater creeks around Ponce Inlet. Warming water temperatures is bringing out the baitfish and the redfish are staying close by. On colder mornings and nights, redfish are schooling on the edges of creeks, ICW, sloughs, and on the muddy sections of the flats. As the sun heats the water up and gets the bait moving, redfish are following and dining on the shrimp and crabs the bait stirs up, or picking off the often injured mullet. The super clear water makes for outstanding sight casting conditions for fly and light tackle lure anglers. Good days lately are revealing several schools of 100+ fish and smaller pods of 20-30. Most of these fish range from 4-10lbs. There are also various areas in the Lagoons where the trophy sized 20-40lb redfish are starting to school on the edges of the flats. Most pods lately have 10-50 fish in the 35-45” range, but as the water continues to warm, these schools will grow to upwards of 100-200 GIANT redfish. My light tackle anglers throwing lures have had good success sight casting with DOA shrimp or soft plastics rigged on Slayer weedless jigheads. When blind casting we have been using Mirrolure’s like the mirrodine and mirrominnow or spoons. My fly anglers have connected on a lot of redfish and black drum lately throwing a shrimp pattern I tie, borski sliders, and redfish candies. Weight and color choices have been dictated by wind conditions, however, light brown flies with bead chain eyes have been the top producers. Choices vary for live bait anglers, we’ve used live shrimp for sight casting and live finger mullet when bait-n-waiting. Over the past month the redfish appear fatter than ever, as we have gotten several redfish around the 27” slot that are weighing close to 10lbs!
Conditions are setting up nicely for the Speckled Trout fishing to explode March-May. These months are perhaps the best time of year to cash in on a big trout between 5-10lbs. It might be a little tougher than year’s past, however, to get one of those trophy trout because of the winter freeze. We’ve been seeing and catching lots of 10-20” trout latelyl and recently started seeing and catching more of the big gators over 5lbs. I found a couple areas last week when the water temps briefly dropped that had 50-75 trout schooled up with most over 4lbs, including a couple near the 10lb mark. Find the mullet pods and you’ll find the trout, as they are closely shadowing their preferred food of choice. As the sun gets up and the bait moves onto the grass, the trout are laying up in sand holes waiting to ambush. My light tackle lure anglers have had good success tossing hard twitchbaits around the bait and small topwater plugs. If the fish are a little lethargic we use live, or even cut, mullet to turn on the trout bite. Sight casting a trout on fly is the ultimate challenge, and if you’re game, go with a really light fly like an unweighted seaducer or deceiver. As the water temps consistently stay between 60-70 degrees, expect the trout bite to be phenomenal and your chances of connecting on a gator trout to increase. April and May are typically my best two producing months of the year for big trout.
When redfish and trout might be slow, you can generally always count on Black Drum to save a day. Or if you just want to get a consistent bite from 10+lb fish, then drum will get the nod. There are a few big schools of 200-300 black drum in the North Indian River Lagoon and a couple smaller schools in the Mosquito Lagoon. There are also good numbers of black drum in Ponce Inlet and around the area bridges. This is the peak time of year to catch the biggest black drum. Most of the drum on the flats are in the 6-15lb range. Peeled dead shrimp have produced well for me lately. If you really want to tussle with a big black drum, head to any area bridge loaded for bear with big tackle and chunks of blue crab. Don’t be surpised to get broken off a couple times before you land one of these big drum over 20lbs.
Snook fishing has been non-existent for me during the past month. While there are snook around that survived the freeze, we barely got any days with water temps in the 60’s which is the minimum temperature it basically takes for us to get any consistent action on them around here. Warmer days in March should help get us there, only then do I expect to start trying again. Same goes for Tarpon, however, we’re only a few weeks away from the bigger 20-40lb juvenile poons to start moving around the area backwaters.
Limited dates remaining for March, as 2/3’s of the month is already booked. About 1/4 of April and May already booked, so call or email now to reserve/book a date. Short notice trips are accepted if I have the date open. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.