Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Fishing Forecast for March 2016
March is a great month to fish on Siesta Key. It is the first month of spring, both on the calendar and outside. The list of available species is long; snook, redfish, trout, pompano, cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, flounder, snapper, grouper, jack crevelle, and sharks just to name a few.
Big Pass will be very productive this month, particularly when the water is clean. Ladyfish are usually thick, with bluefish, mackerel, and pompano mixed in. The sheepshead run will peak this month. Just about any structure near either pass will hold these tasty critters. A live shrimp fished on the bottom should result in a fish dinner pretty easily.
Speckled trout will be schooled up over deep grass flats throughout the entire area. Incoming tides are best, but as long as the water is moving the fish will bite. A live shrimp under a noisy cork is a proven trout slayer. Jigs, spoons, and plugs will fool many fish, too. Pompano, mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, jacks, and a stray cobia will also be encountered when fishing over the grass flats. These are large areas, the key to success is to keep moving until fish are located, do not spend too much time in one spot if it is not producing.
Snook will move out of their winter retreats on their way out to the Gulf to spawn. The Myakka River will still produce some good fish as they migrate down river. Any structure with a depth change is a likely place to catch a snook. Docks, bridges, and oyster bars are all very productive, especially those with some current. Plugs and scented soft plastic baits are the top choices, along with a large hand-picked shrimp. Remember, snook season is closed, handle the fish with care and release them unharmed.
Surf fishing should be good for a variety of species providing the water is clear and not roiled up. Whiting, silver trout, flounder, pompano, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish will hit both live shrimp and artificial lures. A jig tipped with a small piece of shrimp works well bounced along the bottom. Mackerel and ladyfish will hit flash lures such as silver spoons and plugs. A live shrimp fished on the bottom with just enough weight to get down is a simple but effective technique and will catch anything that swims. Anglers targeting pompano will do well with live or frozen sand fleas.
The beach should come alive this month, provided the winds cooperate. Spanish and king mackerel will invade the area, along with cobia, sharks, and false albacore. The inshore reefs off of Lido Key are a great place to start, they hold a lot of fish. Trolling spoons and plugs is a deadly technique and will fill the cooler in short order. For more sport, look for breaking fish on the surface and cast plugs, spoons, or flies out into the frenzy, a vicious strike should occur immediately!