Mother Nature gypped us out of our traditional wintertime fisheries this year, but gifted us with outstanding fishing for species we don’t normally see until spring settles in.
With above normal air and water temperatures, and only the occasional very mild cold front, there has been a noticeable lack of sailfish in the Marathon area. Instead, the action off the reef edge has been on dolphin and wahoo.
Although there are some sailfish around, fishing for them has been inconsistent at best. But, as they commence on their spring trek to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican coast to spawn, there should be good numbers of sails in our vicinity.
Excellent mackerel fishing
Also in March, the king and Spanish mackerel embark on their voyage northward. We typically enjoy some of our best mackerel fishing this time of year, as they are prevalent on both sides of the highway.
We anticipate an uptick in cobia catches as these fish, too, begin their northerly migration.
The cobia in the Atlantic waters tend to be larger than their brethren in the Gulf. However, the Gulf of Mexico fishery is apt to be a bit more reliable, with the brown bombers found on wrecks, whereas they have a propensity to move around in the Atlantic, trailing rays like a dog on a leash.
Outstanding snapper bite
On the reef, the focus is on the snapper bite, which has been more characteristic of late April than February and March. It’s been just excellent and should remain so, with a profusion of yellowtail, mutton and mangrove snapper caught in the 35- to 70- foot depths.
Copious amounts of chum are required for successful snapper fishing. As the snappers’ metabolism increases in the ever-warming water, they require heaps of food to hold their attention.
Last chance to fish the channel humps
Expect the channel humps and patches still to hold plenty of snapper, hogfish and porgy. But, March is usually the last shot at consistent fishing in these areas. The larger fish are inclined to migrate out to the main reef away from warming waters, and these venues fill in with smaller fish.