March 9th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: How does the old saying go….”It ain’t over till it’s over. Well this coming week will prove the adage. Besides dealing with the start of Daylight Saving Time, you’re going to be assaulted with chillier morning temperatures and the abrupt turn of winds to the W and NW and  carrying some high velocity gusts especially in the afternoons. Besides taunting anglers trying to hold anchor etc, it will deliver the ultimate blow of dirty water. Thus, you can expect come late weekend, to see the morning incoming tides dragging fouled (dirty) water well up into the waterways and the deeper backwaters. Some scanty solace though, the weaker afternoon tides will have a trivial impact on clearing the fouled water. So your major quest for the latter part of the week is searching for clean water. Otherwise the water temperatures will probably stay in current range of 75-78. The tides will strengthen as the week progresses and we near the new moon.

BACKWATER: As outlined in the Conditions section, the quest back here this week will be finding clean water and getting enough tide depth to get there. Got a couple of reports this past week that there are still some bigger (take home) sheepsheads holding in spots where the water is deeper and cooler. Remember the temperature as displayed on your fishfinder represents the temperature where the transducer is located (top water)…….if you find depths of 10-15’ in backwater holes the temps at the deeper depth may be 5-6 degrees cooler…..and that’s what the bigger sheepshead are looking for to finish spawn……..so go deep in places like Rookery Bay or deeper holes along the ICW for final winter action. Another action possibility in what promises to be a tough week back here is the whiting / silver trout action. These are both good action smaller species that are 1) fun to catch on a tad a shrimp on a jig head 2) good table fare and 3) have no size limit and a never-to-reach bag limit. Find them off any of the beaches and in moderately (7-10 foot) depth. There has been some mackerel action in Capri Pass by the outer markers when the tide is strong and the water clean……which probably won’t happen post this weekend. But if water cleans work Mack’s with flashy tipped jigs on a tidal drift.

NEARSHORE: Conditions permitting and keep a eye on NOAA setting small craft warnings. Water will not be as tainted here as backwater but will still be effected. Reef spots south and west of the Island are probably best bets. The Isaac Walton reef is worth a shot working the bottom with tipped jig heads under chum for activated lane and mangrove snapper as well as escaping sheepshead heading west. Also the infamous Five Mile Reef is always worth a try……water could be a tad cleaner there. Also might try some live bait (pinfish) on major tackle just off the bottom for possible returning pelagic action. Plus always a chance for grouper here especially on the sunken barges on the SE corner of the complex.

OFFSHORE: Be able to get to cleaner water here starting about 15 miles out……some smaller wrecks noted on the Hot Spots charts that will produce some nice snapper catches on weighted tipped jigs worked under chum. If fishfinder shows bait schools holding off structure (wreck) might want to try a freelined live bait (blue runner) on wire under chum. Chance the early migration arrivals will be hungry. The stone crab pots are about a month away from removal….so keep an eye open as you move between spots for sunning tripletail on the surface. If sighted; slow and double back working the surface adjacent to the marker with a tipped dark color jig on medium strength tackle.

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