Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor Grassflats2@yahoo.com
Fishing report March 2023
Spring fishing is hot as ever in the Big Bend. While the occasional front passed through, water temps have continued to rise toward the magic 60 degree mark. On warmer days when the sun shines on the grass flats, the trout are out and eating, and there have been some really nice gator trout taken this month. Redfishing is more consistent; the winning team in the Power Pole Pro Redfish tournament won with a two fish weight of 13.75 pounds. Congratulations to Mark Crews and Dustin Simmons. As is usual this time of year, most fish are schooling so moving around is important to increase your chances. Jumping mullet and clear water are the keys, and while high wind and waves can make things tough for a day or two, things have been clearing rapidly. This month the fishing was continuing to get better throughout the month, with some of the hot spots the shorelines around Rock Point and Long Grass Point to the north, and the flats between Pine Log Island and Hardy Point, and and Sink Creek further to the south. The Steinhatchee Community Tournament was a great success, and by the end of the month, the sheepshead fishing exploded. Some hints about fishing for these tasty fish in the forecast. Here are some pics from this month.
Fishing Forecast April 2023
Trout will continue to move onto and off of the flats based on water temperatures. On the last weekend of the month, the water temp was above the magic 60 degrees and that will continue to increase. Redfish are continuing to school around creek mouths, rocky structure and sand bars. As the tide comes in, work your way toward shore quietly and cast from a distance toward structure with jigs or plugs. The topwater bite for both trout and redfish has begun, but suspending lures like Live Target sardines are also very effective, and you can’t go wrong with jigs tipped with soft baits or Gulp shrimp, or live shrimp under popping corks. Come by the Ship’s Store and they’ll tell you what’s been working lately. Offshore, the mackerel migration will start any day now, with northward moving schools of whitebait followed by Spanish mackerel and kingfish. Troll jigs or spoons, but make sure you use a wire leader. Gag grouper are out of season until September 1; red grouper can be harvested. This is the time of year to target sheepshead on near and offshore structure. Although it was written some time ago, my old friend Captain Russ Roy has written a great primer about fishing for sheepshead; you can find it at this link: http://www.gofc.us/wp/targeted-species/sheepshead/ The challenge is finding the structure; if you don’t have any numbers, look for significant structure in 15-30 feet of water. The Ship’s Store has fiddler crabs, the classic bait for sheepshead. And all of our guides will be glad to take you on a sheepshead trip.
There are two tournaments this month: the Josh’s Place inshore tournament on Saturday the 15th, and the Fishing for Kids tournament on April 29th. For more information, contact the Ship’s Store.
April is one of the best months of the year. With comfortable water temperatures, the fish will be moving in shallower inshore and the bite will continue to be excellent. Take advantage of our fine spring weather and let’s go fishing!