Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor Grassflats2@yahoo.com
March Fishing Report
It’s the truth that in general, spring and fall are the best times to fish the Big Bend. Both winter and summer slow down fish metabolism, but as the water temperatures moderate, the inshore flats become alive. While this month hasn’t had the greatest weather, with several major rain events, when things cleared up the fishing was on fire. Wind kept much of the fishing inshore, but there were plenty of fish there. And by the end of the month, the nearshore sheepshead fishery was going great guns. We had one major tournament, the UF Salty Gators Tournament, that provided a bunch of fine fish and some financial support for the Captains for Clean Water Foundation. Here are some pics from this month
April Fishing Forecast
I promise: fishing will be fantastic this month. April is one of our best months. The sheepshead fishery started a little early this year but will likely still be going until mid-month. After a several month layoff, gag grouper are in season in counties from Taylor north to Franklin County (this excludes Dixie County, so go north). We should start seeing migrating baitfish later in the month and Spanish mackerel, kingfish and cobia with them. Redfish and trout will continue to be a primary target. If the temps stay moderate, fish in 3 to five feet of water with popping corks and live or artificial shrimp or light colored jigs and soft plastics, drifting over mixed bottom. Try to find areas of sand patches in the grass; trout use them as ambush areas to find pinfish. To concentrate on redfish, move inshore a bit and try near marshlines or at the mouth of creeks, especially around rocky or oyster bar areas. When fish are active, there’s no better way to fish than with plugs early in the morning while the larger fish are feeding. You’ll catch bigger fish that way, but not as many as fishing the flats with corks. For trout, try areas around Piney Point or Sponge Point on both sides of Hagen’s Cove and behind Big Grass Island. Move closer in to the shoreline behind the island to increase the chance for redfish, moving south to fish Long Grass Point and Fisherman’s Rest. Fishing in front of Rock Point in some deeper cuts through the flats is another great place to try. South of the river, south of Pine Log Island down past Sand Point (watch out for rocks) and Hardy Point have been hot spots recently. Some guides have been fishing the Sink Creek area and water out in front of Pepperfish further south.
As always, if you’re not familiar with the area, consider hiring one of our guides for a mixed inshore/nearshore trip and bring home some sheepshead, trout and redfish. Our guides are the best in the area, and you’ll be able to relax and learn the area while you catch fish. Our Ship’s Store has live shrimp, fiddler crabs, and lots of frozen bait for bottom fishing offshore.
There are FOUR tournaments this month. If you are interested in participating in the Hooked on Heroes event, it takes place early on the 2nd. A private Florida Lure Anglers Tournament is on the 9th. Consider joining their club in order to fish. A fundraising tournament for Josh’s Place, a support group in High Springs, is also on the 9th. And at the end of the month, one of the oldest local tournaments, the Shand’s Fishing for Kids Tournament is on the 30th. Make plans to participate in these tournaments for a chance to win some great prizes and also provide support for a number of organizations. Call the Ship’s Store for more information. This is the month to get out and catch some fish!