Winter this year has been as mild as I can remember. Water has hovered around that 70 degree Mark since the first of the year. This has been a direct result of good Snook fishing throughout the coldest months. Bait has also stayed around the markers as well. End result has been some great spring time fishing.
Snook takes the stage this month. While there is a ton of fish to target and all are fun but Snook fishing is something special. People every year come from all over the country to catch Snook and anyone who can Snook fish in March won’t be disappointed. Bait of choice is whitebait. It’s a little tough to get as waters are still cold but it will be worth the effort. Snook fishing with whitebait in March is an absolute must. Look for fish of all sizes to start to push out the of the rivers and head towards the passes that lead in and out of the flats. Fishing the stronger tides will provide more fish and Snook feed best during these times. My favorite rig is free lined bait with 30 lb Ohero Fluorocarbon and 1/0 Daiichi Circle hook. Season opens for Snook this month but this doesn’t mean you have to keep them. Every year the slot gets fished out and that’s what the slot is designed to do but ask yourself in the spot you fish how many slot fish do you see when you leave? Typically there are a bunch of smaller ones mixed with a few slot fish. Simple math tells me that it won’t take many trips to clean those fish out. So the question to ask is if it is better to catch that fish later in the year for an epic fight, or do we keep him and know that it is one less fish we will be able to target. Just some food for thought!
Trout fishing is typically on fire this time of year but that has not been the case. Trout fishing from one end of the bay to the other has not been what it typically is with fish just not showing up in good numbers on the flats and when you do find trout they don’t seem to stay around long. I’m not sure what the problem is nor do I know what the solution is but I hope we can just say it’s an off year. If you are after Trout I would suggest trying the outer grass flats on the south end of the bay. These deeper areas typically hold the spawning fish in good numbers. I love throwing artificial for Trout and you can’t go wrong with a Zman paddlerz matched with an 1/8 once jig head or the good ole Mirrodine from Mirrolure. If you are into using live bait you can’t go wrong with a select shrimp or Greenback matched with a Cajun Thunder popping cork.
Redfish are one of best fighting fish and when you find big schools of fish you will have an epic day of catching. This can be a a bit more difficult than it sounds as Reds tend to move around and can be a bit inconsistent. There are a number of conditions that can move a school of fish. One of the biggest problems in our area that consistently breaks schools of fish up is people running up and down the flats all day long. Reds are notorious for splitting up from a school especially when boat traffic is heavy on the flats. Using a trolling motor or push pole to edge your way into a spot will take more time but the end result will be more fish. Using a stealthy approach is essential to any type of inshore fishing especially when targeting Redfish. Tight lines
Captain Jason Prieto is a native resident of Tampa and has fished Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters for the past 30 years. He is owner and operator of Steady Action Fishing Charters which is based out of lower Tampa Bay and has been operating since 2004. To book a charter, you can reach him at 813-727-9890 or www.steadyactionfishingcharters.com. If you would like to catch him on the radio tune into Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show on Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM 1040 Sports Talk the Team or you can watch our show on Facebook live every weds from 6 to 7