FEBRUARY 2017 Fishing Report and MARCH Forecast

Fishing Report February 2017

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Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor (grassflats2@yahoo.com)

Sea Hag February Report

The remarkably mild winter continued through February. While that minimized the annual river trout run, it was good news in just about every other way. The larger trout remained active and moved onto the flats, and with reasonable temperatures, the redfish bite was spectacular for a February. Ordinarily with low water temps the redfish bite will shut down and the smaller fish will hide in holes up in creeks. There have been tournament-sized redfish available throughout the month. The Fiddler Crab Festival Tournament, which usually has few entries, blew the doors off this month with some great catches. The sheepshead bite continued, and in fact the larger females are just beginning to show up on offshore rocks. Here are some pictures of this month’s catches.

Cindy and Steve Graham from Valdosta with some fine redfish and trout.
Ben Wise from Gainesville with a dinner-sized redfish.
The Music family from Lake Park, Georgia filled the board.
Braylee Hoover holds the catch of the day for her family….a gator trout.
Carol Walters from Keaton Beach with a huge gulf flounder.
Ed Smith from Crescent City just decided to fish off the Sea Hag doc and caught this redfish.
Gavin Easton came down from Michigan to tussle with this amberjack.
Jason Gamage from Tifton, Ga. with his overslot redfish.
Allison and Emily Brown reeled in their own fish.
Andy Phillips from Gainesville with a marsh redfish.
Sherri Boone from Arkansas found this sheepshead.
Aubrey Music with his eye-popping 27 inch 6 lb. trout.
Matt Cowart with another bull redfish.
Jade and Claudia Gree from Lake Park, Ga. nailed these amberjack.
Steve Reed, Mike Hill and Mike Mulcahy took advantage of the sheepshead run.
Tom Dasher and Guy Carter from Valdosta with a great board of flounder and trout.
Melissa Macarages from Florida Sea Grant caught this beautiful trout during the Festival Tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning fish in the Fiddler Crab Festival:

James Dechow (R)with his 7.74# winning redfish.
David Crews (L) and his 4.5# winning trout.
Chris Beasley from Callahan with this 3.39# sheepshead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing Forecast for March

March is usually a transition month as fish move onto the flats and redfish begin to wake up from the cold, but this weather has everyone confused. The trout are already on the flats in 3 to 5 feet of water. Areas around Rocky Creek and the flats west of Pepperfish have yielded some fine trout catches, as have the cuts and flats outside of Dallus Creek. Fish slow-sinking lures such as the Live Target sardine or the Mirrodine XL series, or the Paul Brown Lure Devil. Popping corks with Gulp shrimp will begin to produce some nice fish. When the water is cold, fish these rigs very slowly.

The redfish have been exactly where they should be….around inshore rocks and creek oyster beds. Areas behind Big Grass Island, Hardy Point, Tater Island and Drum Point have been holding some nice upper- and over-slot redfish. The same suspending lures for trout will work well for redfish, along with slow-working gold spoons. Live shrimp fished around oyster bars in and outside of creeks is usually very productive.

It’s very likely that the sheepshead spawn will continue to provide some excellent fish. Offshore, gag grouper season is still closed, but near the end of the month we should be seeing the southward migration of the pelagics, cobia, kingfish and Spanish mackerel. Look for migrating schools of whitebait and diving birds, and troll jigs or spoons for Spanish. When the schools of baitfish show up, a block of chum on a nearshore bar will keep your rods bent with bluefish, Spanish, blue runners and the occasional trout, cobia and flounder. Florida snapper and black sea bass are readily available on offshore structure and provide some great eating.

Put these tournaments on your calendar for this month. The Florida Pro Redfish Series Steinhatchee event is March 11, the Steinhatchee Community Tournament is March 25th, and the Sea Hag March Trout Madness runs through the month. Make sure to get a picture taken with a trout at Sea Hag for an automatic entry. Give Sea Hag a call for up-to-date fishing info and stop by for the biggest selection of tackle in town. March is a great time to get on the water. Hope for reasonable winds and get out there and take advantage of the fine Big Bend fishing this month.

 

Captain Steve Rassel 352 3595902. www.lastrcastras.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has sprung. Not much of a winter this year. The trout have already moved onto the flats and the redfish are on and around the shallow rock piles and oyster bars. Catching plenty of trout in the deeper flats while the bigger gators are crushing the shallows. Looking forward to a great month in March.

 

Captain Kyle Skipper, Marker One Flats Charters    (352) 317-1654  www.m1fishing.com