Florida Fishing Report

Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters

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Finally. After some below freezing untypical start to March, the lion has metamorphosed into a lamb. Daytime highs are reaching the low 80s; nighttime lows in the 60s, water temperatures in the low 70s. Add a dash of azure blue skies as the final ingredient in more typical spring conditions of the Sunshine State. Oh! Did I mention---the fish are enjoying it too!

Michael and Liz Overstreet proudly display the snooky fruit of a mid March dark moon

Scaled sardines that were playing cat and mouse the past 4 weeks seem to have now become more consistent and are the staple of success in pursuing awakened from hibernation gamefish.

 Spotted seatrout are the first species to stand tall in the early warming of spring. Friday we took a 3-person limit in the first 15 minutes of fishing. School sized fish are being found on the open flats in 4 to 6 feet of water. 


As usual the larger “gators” are being found in the shallows in the areas of cul-de-sacs, oyster bars, points and creek mouths. While the fishing has been exceptional, the fish are under some heavy-duty pressure in some of the better-known spots. The run and shoot offensive is a wise strategy as what was the day before often changes on the following due to harvest, instinct of survival, or the fact they are on the move to more comfortable surroundings.

Ron Thistlethwaite (left) and Ron Heeg heft a pair of bull reds last week.

Redfish are second on the list in making their spring appearance. We had many good days the past week with both quality sized fish and numbers. Friday we took over 25 fish just inside the legal slot, and 16 oversized a few days prior. Both exceptional catches were made in different areas, though just a mile apart.

With the key element of horse eye minnows and favorable water temperatures, snook are biting a little bit on the open flats, inside shallow bays, deeper creeks, rivers and residential canals.

While a mid month moon in March is often tops for some of the biggest fish of the year---this past week did not offer the big bite experienced in years past due to the water temperatures. A 34-inch, 14lb. fish was our biggest fish of the week. Some classic early spots were vacant and most only held a few fish. It will be the next moon that will give us a better idea on what type and status of a snook fishery 2002 will bring. Tighter bag limits are now in effect and the May closure should help them somewhat. Though, I personally believe a temporary moratorium on harvest until we can see some significant rebound in stocks is a good idea in today’s present situation

Cobia are making their annual show on the backs of large stingrays cruising the grass flats. The water is crystal clear at this time and is optimum conditions for sight casting to them. For those willing to put in the time, a good show of pompano is happening along the white sugar sand beaches the barrier islands.

St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional mark most years for the migratory species such as kingfish, Spanish mackerel, permit, and tarpon. We are now behind a week or two that now due  to the late winter. There is plenty of everything else going on in the meantime.

After the first few days of some long awaited beautiful weather, I sat the other morning after catching bait and reflected. Our area has changed dramatically from yesteryear. In the days when everyone is armed with “whitebait”, go fast boats, and common knowledge of “secret” spots, take the time to respect others. There are plenty of fish in our waters. Crowding or racing to spots (on that day or the following) is totally unnecessary and the best “spots” will always be the ones you find yourself. Most importantly enjoy yourself and allow others the same fulfillment. It’s why we all go there to start.

Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!

Robert McCue



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Last Update 18MAR02
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