In like a lion, that saying is never more fitting, because we are steamrolling into March riding a wave of fishing, and catching, success. The fishing is outstanding, and that just might be an understatement. There was hardly a reason to take a day off, and that's verified by the 25 days I was on the water last month. I had about 15 charters in February, and during those trips we caught lots of redfish, snook, trout, black drum, grouper, and even landed a juvenile tarpon at night. I had 5 clients catch a grand slam during February, and two brought in a super slam. And March is only going to get better!
The bite for GIANT Redfish is turning on. Over the past couple of weeks, I've found 5 schools of trophy size redfish in the 20-45lb range. They've primarily been in 3-4" of water, and it's pretty tough for the casual angler to spot them hiding near the bottom. During the past month we landed two giants over 30lbs, and several more between 20-30lbs. I ran into a school on a recent scouting trip and caught two on fly between 23-27lbs. So it has begun! As the weather continues to warm up and water temps increase, schools of 5-10lb redfish are breaking up and flooding the shallow flats for some great tailing action. Stalking our tailing redfish on the flats is just like fishing for bonefish in the Keys. Once we're in about 1-2" of water, we're finding good numbers of fish primarily feeding on shrimp and crabs. Coincidentally a majority of our catches have been made on live shrimp and DOA soft plastics. We've also done well on fly using shrimp and crab fly imitations. The crystal clear water has the fish on alert, and accurate casts have been a must when sight fishing lately.
The Snook fishing hasn't slowed down; in fact it's been red hot. We've caught snook this past month from Daytona Beach all the way down into Mosquito Lagoon. If the tides are in our favor, we've been catching a bunch of snook every day between 2-5lbs. We're also getting a couple bites from bigger snook in the 7-12lb range, a tough test on light tackle. Snook season opened February 1 and we've landed 5 fish in the slot (28-32") with numerous break-offs from fish in or above that range. Plugs, plastics, and live shrimp have been the ticket for success. Tarpon are becoming a more frequent site as the water has warmed up. I've been seeing a few fish every day between 5-25lbs. They are still grumpy and each passing cold front pushed them back down to the bottom. The bite isn't very predictable yet, we're still about a month or so away before we can start going after them every day. One fish landed so far, a 10lb fish that ate a hard plug at night around structure.
There are lots of trophy sized Spotted Sea Trout on the flats, but even more fish of all sizes in the surrounding deeper water. Most of our trout lately have come as by-catch when we are fishing for snook. But we're also getting a few good shots each day at fish over 6lbs while we are sight fishing flats for redfish. They are still spooky and definitely a tough test for many anglers. We are still catching good numbers of Black Drum as well. Deep holes in the tidal area have been the best bet. The average fish has been anywhere from 2-10lbs and they are eagerly eating a shrimp tipped jig on the bottom. Someone say Grouper? Yeah, that's my hidden gem and they're here. They truly are my tucked away secret. Anyways, we caught about 10 in the last couple weeks. They aren't giants, but they are a powerful fight on light tackle around structure. All the fish we landed are gag and black grouper between 12-22", but I know we've been broken off by a couple that are keepers. Hats off to my son who landed a 24 inch - 5lb goliath grouper a couple weeks ago. The goliath is an endangered and federally protected fish that grow to unbelievable sizes. What a fight he put up for my son.
As we enter March, the fishing I described above should remain consistent right into April and May. My calendar is getting close to being fully booked for March, and April and May are looking to be busy months as well. I'm also fishing the IFA Redfish Tour in Jacksonville this April, so don't wait till the last minute to try and schedule a charter. Look forward to fishing with you soon, 386-212-4931
Check out all our latest catches by viewing the Photo Gallery!