Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters

Our Florida fishing report page offers up to date information on fishing in the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Orlando and Boca Grande area of Florida's West Coast. For more information on our Florida fishing charters and tarpon fishing charters, please click the link below

Florida fishing charters

Florida Fishing Report



In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb?

Over the decades, trophy fish have served as the catalyst in establishing  long time friendships that  become more like family to us. We're off to Texas to celebrate the matrimony of two of our favorites, Dawn and Greg Crouch. Congrats!
Left to Right: Dawn Stone, CEO deckhand Brian Timmons, and Greg Crouch

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And so it has begun. While Mother Nature will continue to attempt to have her way with occasional cold snaps, Father Time will prevail with reason in March. The Vernal Equinox will occur on the 21st of March. The hours of light and dark will balance on that day and the biological time clock of fish will sound the sounds of spring.

Trout fishing will remain strong through the month in our immediate area. The fish have been under unprecedented pressure with continued exposure in several media outlets. Pin pointing fish in the same area over and over in today’s modern era is simple irresponsibility that benefits no one and particularly not the resource. Savvy anglers have been staying off the beaten path and working a little harder to mimic results that were just what once was.

Redfish have been on the edges of flats all winter. The rivers and creeks are usually the first at releasing winter redfish back onto the spring flats. Most often these fish are not huge, but instead, slot fish perfect for harvest. Hard sand, flat rock and oyster bars get the nod, as these areas are quick to warm up during the day. The tides are now producing more water on the flood, thus making these areas accessible to both the angler and the fish. Soft jerk baits, jigs and a fresh shrimp are all working.

Up close and personal! The "silver gladiator" is the ultimate big game species in the world. In a  matter
 of  just a few weeks
the fish will mass here in both size and numbers not found anywhere else in the world.

Snook are always the last ones to venture from their spa oasis of winter. They can be found from their entire east-west migration haunts at this time. Many of the fish will be scattered and that is what you are looking for. Too often when snook are spotted by the human eye and formed into tight schools, be it summer or winter, it is for a reason. Usually that reason is not to feed, so no need to waste your time casting for a bite.

Late winter snook are opportunistic feeders. I always examine the stomach contents of the fish I filet at the table. At this time of year you will more likely find one of two things in a snook’s stomach:

  1. nothing or

  2. a crab (or remnant thereof)

While the water is still cool and things are just starting, a slow moving jig is all that is needed to produce snook. I chuckle when I see people spending their entire day trying to acquire scaled sardines, while long-time experts know only a few will bite anyway. Experts will get those fish by hitting the prime spots before anyone else gets there and then moving off to do other things before the un-experienced angler finally decides that he can not catch “bait”.

I saw quite a few cobia riding the backs of Southern string rays the weekend before last. Drifting around the same area this past Saturday, I only saw 2. They tend to show first on the wrecks and deeper channel markers and then on the flats. They are suckers for pinfish fished deep around the wrecks and markers. Anglers drift fishing the grassflats for trout should always keep a pinfish drifting behind the boat and “Rodney” (The Rod Holder) fishing with the “clicker” on. Once the fish hit the flats, both the rays and the cobia make easy targets in our gin clear water for sight casting.

Traditionally, the Spanish macks will be raising cane by St. Patrick’s Day. Expect the usual suspects to be following the bait migration as well. Grouper will be taken in the shallows. When kingfish are on their  northward migration in the spring, they tend to do so out deeper. However you can expect them to show up anywhere there is an abundance of bait and decent water clarity. When the first reports of kingfish are heard, the secret society of jumbo permit anglers will have already taken arms to their favorite wreck or reef to battle these tackle busters of the jack family.

While it has been somewhat less consistent the past few years with late and unseasonable weather in March, we can potentially see tarpon anytime around the full moon mid month. Resident fish will move out of backwaters and return to places where they are easier to find, like underneath the Bay areas’ major bridges. Any gulf bearing/bound fish will relate first to the deeper waters before what moving inside the passes, bays, and harbors. Often the magic depth is 40 feet. This could be an area of hard bottom in the open gulf or along the edge of a major ship channel. With the right tides and availability of forage, these fish may ride up on the flats to enjoy the Florida sunshine. And so will I.

The full moon falls at near the Ides of March. This will likely be the beginning of the Crème de la Crème of spring fishing. Getcha sum!

Screaming Drags And Tired Arms!

Robert McCue

World class tarpon over 200lbs will be tipping the scales in just a few weeks. Limited availably remains for 2006.



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Last Update 27FEB06
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