Tampa Fishing Guides are commonly asked the question "what fish will I catch?" when customers are inquiring about a fishing charter. In certain months, the answer is easy.  In transition months, like March however, one can never be sure. In almost every year, March is the month when temperatures generally warm up for good but last March served up two weeks of cool weather and the start of this March is no different...temps in the 40's last night. In theory, just about every fish that swims near shore around here could be caught, but each has a preferred temperature range when they will either be here (kingfish, mackerel, bonito) or be active (snook).  So, as a general rule, if early warming occurs in March, it generally improves snook fishing as well as redfishing and may bring near shore species like kingfish, mackerel and bonita, to name a few, within range by the end of the month. A warm March can also chase the big winter sea trout out of the intercostal waterway early. A cold March will hold the trout around longer, but will delay both the increased activity of some fish (snook and redfish), and the arrival of other species that follow bait up the coast from the south...kingfish, mackerel, bonita etc.  It is likely that, regardless of the weather scenario, that there will be some mangrove snapper and gag grouper, many of them small, on the near shore reefs and ledges. So when most Captains are asked what they'll catch in March on a Tampa Fishing Charter, the best answer is a list of what could be caught followed by the statement that target species are best discussed a day or two before the charter. 

Clearwater Seatrout Fishing

With that said and based on current conditions, Tampa Fishing for large seatrout fishing should remain good through the rest of the month or until a prolonged heat wave. Whitebait is clearly the best bait for these spring fish and was starting to be available before this last front. It should return within a day or two after the front's passing. The best presentation is to free line these baits but a bobber can be used to better identify the strike. There are days when small pinfish and grass grunts will work very well also. Some of the biggest trout seem to be caught this month every year.  A large whitebait or 5 inch grass grunt will tend to attractive these larger specimens.

Redfish are definitely starting to show up in better numbers....up to 25 fish on some Tampa Fishing Charters... but most are smaller fish....typical for this time of year. Patches of 10 - 15 of these fish can provide fast action and a lot of entertainment when located. Best bait for fish in this size range is shrimp, but small (very small) pinfish will also work.  Some mid to upper slot fish are staring to show and with tide heights improving, and waters warming, it should be game on for redfish by the end of the month. When larger fish arrive in numbers, just about any bait is fair game...from cut baits, to pinfish to whitebait.  Shrimp is a great redfish bait but with increasing pinfish activity, more durable baits are a better choice.

Tampa Fishing for Snook and Redfish

February was quite warm this year and seems to have gotten the snook off to an early start. Fish are being seen in many locations and, on warmer days, will actually eat. Whitebait seems to be a requirement for triggering these fish however so getting enough bait to chum productive areas is the key. The recent cold blast from the north will make these fish uncomfortable for a few days but given 2 - 3 days of mid 70 degree weather, these fish should pick back up where they left off and fishing should just get better and better, peaking in May and June.

Looking for some after hours entertainment.  Jump on the Jolley Trolley and tour Northern Pinellas County. It runs 7 days a week and can also be chartered for private groups.  There are many microbreweries popping up in Northern Pinellas and its a great way to sample a broad range of home grown beers without any transportation worries. Interested in listening to some of your favorite music from the past. Ruth Eckerd Hall has a constant flow of talent...featuring groups like The Steve Miller Band and Chicago, among others, in March. Good luck and good fishing.


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