Gulf of Mexico

Freshly-caught TriggerfishThere’s lots going on out in the Gulf this month.  March will see the spring mackerel run get underway, a run that brings large schools of Spanish mackerel migrating northbound along the coast.  A few early king mackerel will also be caught this month around nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs.  Shark fishing will get seriously underway when the waves of mackerel arrive.  Bottom fishermen get to keep triggerfish this month for the first time in a while after the season for these odd looking but delicious fish opens on March 1.  Flat hard bottom in 60 to 90 feet of water is holding lane snapper, red grouper, vermilion snapper and porgys.  Sheepshead spawning season is going strong right now and these striped porgies can be found around natural rock ledges and manmade artificial reefs out to about 50 feet of water.


Charlotte Harbor

Nice Snook Caught in Charlotte Harbor.Snook are on the move, leaving their inland winter retreats and moving out onto the flats and along shorelines all around the harbor where they'll have to feed heavily in the coming weeks to prepare for the upcoming spring spawning season.  Drifting the flats with a shrimp suspended under a popping cork will be a good strategy for trout as it warms up, and you shouldn't be surprised if a cobia crashes your trout party since these big brown fish will be sharing the same flats.  A few pompano have been mixed in with the trout and these silvery, hard-fighting fish should be around for at least another month or so.  Sheepshead fishing should be strong as the winter spawn for these striped porgys continues.   And here's a news flash:  there will be a smattering of tarpon caught this month in the harbor.  It's tough to predict when, where or how many, but every year there are a few tarpon taken in March.  As a reminder:  snook, trout and redfish seasons are closed in this region.