March 15th 2019 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: March weather stays right in step with a “little winter” year here …….the week will start off nice and placid and warm and kick up with a a period of disruptive winds and tumultuous conditions through mid week. With all of the latter out of the W and NW, it will probably impact the water quality and well as general fishing conditions i.e. sea state. Creature comfort could well be impacted with some 50 degree early mornings. And that might send a chill down in the climbing water temperature and the arrival of the spring species especially in the backwaters. Would think we would see and 4-6 degree dip in the mid 70 water temperatures through the mid week. The tides are moving toward a full moon late week and both tides will be pulling a three foot tide range by late week. That could well be an offset as a positive to the other pending condition changes.
BACKWATER: Kind of amazing, but the sheepshead, including many spawners are still on their feed. Of some concern, is the fact that usually by early March we’re catching big female sheepshead that are thinning as they had released their spawn………in the last couple of weeks the big caught female sheepshead are loaded with unspent spawn.That could well point to a future problem in their population numbers in time ahead. Pointing to the arrival of the spring fishery, we are seeing more and more signs of Spanish Mackerel mixed with smaller bluefish in all the Passes. They show early on the incoming tide and then scatter inshore to work the numerous bait schools feeding on arriving bait. Pompano are also showing in Hurricane and Capri Passes on either tide as long as there is moving water. Should be a good week for them post rough wind period early week.
NEARSHORE: Those mackerel and blues in the Passes will also be very active on the nearshore barges and reefs. The cut from the Capri Channel to the Sea Buoy has three sunken barges that have a good chance of holding bait and thus a nirvana for the feeding mackerel and bluefish. Run a path over the structure and when the screen clouds with bait / drop a marker and double back up current and get a chum effort going. Give it ten to fifteen minutes to mature and then get those shrimp tipped jigs in the slick and worked right up top on the surface. The chum will attract blue runners beneath and you’ll avoid them by staying tight to the surface waters. The other set of opportunities is working the advertised reefs……the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the legendary Five Mile Reef SW of the Walton. Both areas have serious bottom structure and can hold nice size land and mangrove snapper caught with weighted tipped jigs worked, again, under chum.
OFFSHORE: Caution here especially early to mid week with potential rough sea conditions. If forecast plays out, should be a “pancake”by late week. News here is the Kingfish….aka King Mackerel are making their first 2019 showing as they depart the Keys and make their way north. These guys are one of the major offshore species that grave the Southwest waters. They are sizable and usual weights would be in toe 25-35 lb range with lots of bigger and smaller. Find an published artificial reef or a wreck and make a visit looking for an assemblage of bait…… that’s the ticket to draw the kings. A blue runner on a wire leader tethered at a 15’ depth in a chum slick on major tackle will get you a workout and a prize of some nice kingfish steaks for the grill!