04 Mar Fishing Tampa March 2016
Our March fishing Tampa report brings good news. From what I have been seeing while out on the water it appears that Spring weather is here. White Bait (aka Sardines) are showing up in Tampa Bay. I have been finding bait in the deeper water. I observed it just yesterday in about 25′ of water. It appeared as though it was moving north up into the bay. A great springtime sign. It should be on our flats soon with the rising water temperature making it easier to catch in the shallower waters.
Snook season opened March 1st. The snook are starting to move out of the back country towards the mouths of the creeks,rivers and onto the open flats. They are hungry after this winter pattern and will be feeding to once again fatten up and get ready for the spawn. When fishing Tampa for snook the bait of choice is usually Sardines. I also like to use cut bait such as lady fish soaked on the bottom as the water temperature rises. Rigged with a 3/0 circle hook on 30# mono leader this usually entices these hungry fish to eat. It is an easy meal. Live Sardines on the other hand work well free lined on a #1 circle hook and 20# fluorocarbon leader. You can step it up to 30# or heavier leader with larger baits. On the artificial end of the spectrum soft plastic jigs imitating Sardines work well also. A go to hard bait would be the Mirrodine suspending bait. Its a very easy lure to work and looks just like a Sardine.
Redfish (aka Red Drum)
Redfish are roaming our flats. Look for them to be feeding around oyster bars and mixed in with schools of Mullet. You will need a stealthy approach to these fish as they get a lot of pressure from fishing Tampa Bay area anglers. It is not uncommon to see 10 or more boats working a school of Redfish pushing them up and down the flats. Its really not my style of fishing. I prefer to find small schools of fish and work them alone. Or to catch Redfish mixed in with the Snook. Baits of choice for Redfish would be Lady fish, Blue Crab, or live Sardines. Artificial lures will work well also such as soft plastic jigs and Gulp shrimp.
Speckled Sea Trout
Speckled Sea Trout will begin moving onto the flats. Drifting the flats over grassy areas will start producing the best. A live sardine cast out and slowly reels back will produce as will a sardine under a bobber just allowed to do its thing. Soft plastic baits and the Mirrodine will also do the trick.
Sheepshead fishing is still good in March. These spawning fish can be caught around bridge pilings on artificial reefs and on the rocks piles that litter some of the bottom areas of Tampa Bay. Shrimp and Crabs are the bait of choice for these Bandits of the Bay. They can be very challenging to catch and will steal your bait in the blink of an eye. As table fair they are one of the tastiest fishing Tampa Bay has to offer.
Mangrove Snapper can be found through out fishing Tampa Bay. They can be caught using a simple knocker rig and #1 circle hook baited up with a live shrimp or small sardine. They are a lot of fun to catch and make for great table fare. Look around the area bridges,artificial reefs,rock piles and other structure for them.
March fishing Tampa Bay should produce some great catches. This is the time when we have a variety of species to target. Dont wait to book your next fishing charter Springtime is the right time to get out on the water.