By Captain Klopfer Adventure Charters / 941-371-1390
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. Often times the tide is low in the morning, making the passes a great place to start off a trip and bend some rods. Ladyfish are usually thick, with bluefish, mackerel, and pompano mixed in. Live bait will work, but this is a great situation to cast artificial lures. Fish in the passes are usually actively feeding and can be seen busting baits on the surface. Gold Cotee grubs on a ¼ ounce jig head and (08) Rapala X-Raps are two effective lures. 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. 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. Fishing the area bridges at night is a great way to catch a bunch of snook. Free-lined live shrimp, artificial shrimp and plugs work well. Fly fisherman will score using any small white baitfish pattern. 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 with 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. I 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!