March Madness

In southwest Florida the month of March is one of if not the busiest times of year. Tourist season is in full force, plus it’s Spring Break for schools across the country. While the  roads can get very congested and restaurants with long lines,  it’s a great time to get on the water, away from the crowds and take advantage of March Madness, Southwest Florida style.

If you have Spring breakers visiting from college or grade school and you plan on taking them fishing, most have one thing in common, they want action.  They aren’t as concerned about landing a trophy snook or redfish, but would rather keep busy with a bent rod and screaming drags.

For fun, fast, rod bending action, it’s hard to beat open water areas with a good mix of different fish.  With a little homework and luck it’s possible to keep busy catching mackerel, bluefish, sea trout, ladyfish, pompano, and other “surprise” fish without moving the boat. The surprise could include sharks, tarpon or cobia, all with the possibility of being large, so you want to keep a heavier rig armed and ready.

        The good news with this type of fishing is that most anglers and tackle shops are willing to share locations and techniques.  It’s almost impossible to pry a snook or grouper hole from local anglers, but ask and they will point you in the right direction for a good Spanish mackerel bite.  As a general rule most of our inshore fishing for this mixed bag occurs in depths less than ten feet and more than four. Fish will hold over a particular area for one reason, food, it’s important to look for areas that look “alive”. In other words, look for activity, birds (gulls, terns, cormorants, pelicans) are a good indication, they also are hanging in an area for one thing, food.  To attract the food, or bait, and attract the gamefish, an area must meet a few qualifications. First, we need tide or water movement, it doesn’t need to be at full force as we see in the Gulf Passes, but it should have a pronounced flow.  Take the time to learn how to read local tide charts. Remember, the strongest water movements will be in areas where the water gets bottlenecked (think of the gulf passes), for this type of fishing I generally concentrate over waters adjacent to long, shallow bars with a marbled bottom or a mix of sand and grass. Polarized sunglasses are a must to help read the bottom type and locate the shallow bars.

After a little homework you will have enough knowledge to put a fishing plan together, now all that is left is the luck. There is no doubt that some anglers are just plain lucky and it can be very aggravating to the rest of us, but if you take the time to learn how and where to fish your target species then you’re lucky days will become a lot more frequent. 

For the experienced angler or the novice, this type of fishing really is a great choice for the upcoming month, especially if you have Spring Breakers visiting from the north.  A steady bend of the rods, screaming drags, fresh fish for dinner, now that’s showing your visitors a great time!

“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell

Phone: 239-283-7960