Late March Fishing Reports for West Central Florida

By March 21, 2016Fishing Reports

Cooler water temps and blue skies bring awesome sight fishing opportunities to those anglers willing to push pole or wade fish shallow flats on high sun. The lower tides in March and typical NE breezes should provide a few tailing redfish days and big trout opportunities.

You’ll also experience good action on both Sheepshead & Ladyfish if you are looking for a more reliable targets. These two species are in most residential canal systems or nearby flats. And can be caught on natural bait, artificials or fly.

Here’s some more action you can expect in the shallows:

Sea Trout-      Expect larger Sea Trout to move shallow on post cold front conditions. You’ll see them sunning in less than 18″ of water in shallow potholes looking to take out an unsuspecting finger mullet. I like to target these big specks with slow walking topwater plugs (Top Dog Jr #11) or the venerable Paul Brown Original Floater. Another good choice is the recently released Zman Trout Trick (Green Lantern) rigged on a 4/0 Mustad Grip-Pin hook. The most important aspect with all these lures is to make sure the tempo is slow, very slow if you want good results!

Redfish- Redfish action is reliable this time of year as the Reds cruise the shallow flats on incoming water looking for crabs and shrimp. In low light, you can swing a search lure like the Aqua Dream Spoon (Gold or Black Nickel). But once the sun gets high, switch over to the Zman Shrimpz (Redbone) on a 3/0 Mustad Grip-Pin hook or the Zman BTB Jig (Rootbeer/Gold) slowly working the potholes in 1′ to 3′ of water. Remember to focus on flats with lots of wading birds… that’s a good barometer for the redfish potential!

Snook-  Get into the back bays for the linesider action! I’ve had some solid results on Mirrolure’s Mirrominnow and the Zman 3″ Minnowz (Gold Rush), slow twitching and rolling on dark muddy bottoms. The snook get pretty shallow in the backwater so stealth is critical for consistent success. I recommend quietly push poling or wading to these laid up snook to maximize your opportunities. It’s also smart to use at least 30lb. shock leader because of the rough mouth on a snook plus there are plenty of snags under the mangroves.

Flounder-  Plenty of these guys around bridges and docks right now. Dragging buck tail or paddle tail jigs on 3/8 oz. heads. Use plenty of Pro-cure Scent and then slow hop or drag close to sea bottom for best results. Most flounder have been running between 12″ to 18″ but the occasional doormat size is possible around the bridge pilings close to the Passes with good flow!

Here’s a quick reminder, Flats Class TV is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year! All the action kicks off this April with episodes from the Everglades, Charlotte Harbor and Mosquito Lagoon. Catch all the action on Destination America, Sun Sports and our new online partner Waypoint Outdoors (!

Lastly, please join the CCA and participate in this year’s CCA Star Tournament lots of incredible prizes that include a new HB Skiff, Contender Bay Boat and much more… we need your participation, voice and support, CCA protects our valuable resource & fishing rights! Let’s all get involved and stop tragedies like the toxic pumping from Big Sugar in south Florida.

Until next time, keep them rods bent folks!

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