The month of March can be hit or miss for weather but can be very exciting for inshore or offshore fishing. If you are headed out into the blue water, do not forget to check the weather before heading out. The Gulf can turn into a washing machine without notice and turn a great day on the water into a nightmare.
Keep in mind that Black / Gag Grouper season is closed until March 31st and Red Grouper is closed until March 15th. AJ’s are the hot bottom bite. They can be caught in about 80 feet of water over wrecks. In addition to the AJ bite, you are sure to have fun with the triggerfish and beeliners this month. Please check you FWC regulations prior to your trip for updates.
Going to troll or pole the flats? A slow reel is the key – flats fish aren’t fond of cold water. Some trout may be caught on the flats but you will find the majority of the catch to take place in deep holes of 10 to 15 feet, around structure / docks, around canals and inlets. I find that a jerkbait on a 1/4 oz jighead or live shrimp is the ticket.
The bays are covered up with bluefish. The blues will hit anything thrown their way. Also, Sheephead are in the bay around docks and in the pass around the jetties. The best way to catch these sheephead is to rig with a light leader and small circle hook. I have found it favorable to scrape barnacles off pilings and docks then start fishing with sand fleas. If the sheephead see your line your done!
Redfish are being caught in bayous on oyster beds and docks. Some smaller reds are making their way to the flats but the bigger reds are still in deeper water. Just throw a 4 inch Berkley Gulp or live pinfish around docks and the jetties. I suggest – if you are fishing in the pass, fish the outgoing tide, a one ounce SPRO jig and hang on – look for diving birds, as those big bulls are lurking below. There have been some reports of slot reds being caught on the flats using top water plugs.
The Dan Russell Pier is currently closed for construction. The Pier is scheduled to re-open Summer of 2010.
Melvin and Buffington Brave the Storm to Win Emerald Coast Redfish Club’s First Series Event 20+ knot winds, thunderstorms, and a tornado watch made for horrific fishing conditions as Panama City Beach hosted the first stop on the Emerald Coast Redfish Club’s Tour. Jason Melvin and Brian Buffington found a way to capture the win and emerge as the Tour’s first leaders of the season.
“The weather was a concern on Friday before the event,” said Team Redfish Riviera’s Captain, Daniel Snapp. The weather folks were calling for 20+ knot winds, seas 6 to 8 feet and protected waters rough all day Friday and at 4:00 am Saturday morning – they were right!
Taking everything in consideration, the first event of the year, severe weather conditions and a new location at Bay Point Marina in Panama City Beach – the tournament ended up a huge success, said Tournament Director, Mike Schweppe. We ended up launching 32 of the 33 boats expected for the event.
Team Redfish Riviera, presented by Southern Peanut Producers and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, listed two teams for this event. However, the boat captained by Sean Fields ran into early engine problems and left he and his partner, Co-Owner of Team Redfish Riviera, Steve Bailey on the dock. “I am very disappointed,” uttered Captain Fields. We will be back and will give our sponsors, Redfish Riviera, Southern Peanut Producers and Margaritaville something to rave about. Team Redfish Riviera, captained by Daniel Snapp brought in one fish to give them a top ten finish.
Topping off the event was a second place finish by the 2008 IFA Gulf Coast Division Champion, Fred Myers and his partner Pete Turner. For more information and official results, please visit http://www.theredfishclub.com. The next event is scheduled for March 28th in Pensacola Beach, Florida.