With a mild February and warming water temperatures, the March bite is setting up to be excellent. Bait has begun to fill the bay and the fish are ready to leave those wintertime hiding spots. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to get a kid out fishing, as it is not uncommon to have days with catch numbers well into the double digits. Snook, Trout, and Redfish will all be cooperative so it is realistic to land the elusive "Inshore Slam"!
Look to target these fish on flats near canals, rivers, and creeks as they will be leaving those areas in search of prey. On the lower tides look for potholes that are slightly deeper than the average depth of the flat itself. Expect the fish to stage in these potholes, waiting on prey to enter the "danger zone". If live bait fishing, feel free to add a popping cork to your rig when casting in or near these potholes. With artificials, make sure to cast beyond the pothole itself and retrieve the lure through the pothole. Paddle tails on jigheads or swimbaits rigged weedless are the go-to bait here. With fish hunting aggressively, the vibration from the paddle is sure to get their attention.
When the tide approaches the higher stage, the fish won't be moving far, but rather closer to the shore and even into the mangrove shorelines. Approach the shorelines with stealth and if you have a pair polarized glasses you can likely spot them in the sand. I like to start where the grass edge meets the sand as the fish will use this change in terrain to provide themselves camouflage while stalking prey.
It will be tough to beat a live greenback in this situation, but shrimp will still get you bites. Freelining either bait is generally preferred up closer to the shoreline, but if you need some extra weight to back a long enough cast feel free to add a cork or split shot. When throwing artificials you can still use the paddle tails you had tied on while pothole fishing, but I'll also use a jerk bait rigged weedless which can be worked a bit slower and keep the bait presented in the strike zone longer. This can be especially effective when the fish are up to the mangroves. As always, we love talking about this in the shop. Stop by and join in the conversation and we can show you some of our staff picks!