March is here! The best season of the year is upon us and the fish are starting to bite. Fishing has improved dramatically over the past 2 weeks. March, April and May are the best fishing months in Fort Lauderdale and we have been looking forward to this for a long time. This is the season where everything is biting. Trolling, live baiting, shipwreck fishing….. they are all equally good this time of year and doing any one of them can yield an epic fish. The action on big fish is probably most attributed to the large amount of small tunas on the reefs. It’s the circle of life and the multitude of tunas creates a plentiful food source, which brings in the big game fish. From tunas to blue marlin, there isn’t anything that swims offshore of south Florida that isn’t biting over the next 3 months.
Dolphin are biting this month. They are scattered out there so any day is a possibility of finding them, but any day there is a strong east wind, it is probable that you find them. Dolphin are traditionally an offshore fish. But during the month of March and sometimes April, the East wind brings the big dolphin into 100-200ft of water. These are not the schoolie size, little ones we catch during the summer months. These are the bigger dolphin, the majority of them in the 12-20 pound range. If the East wind blows for a few days straight, especially when it blows really hard and the ocean gets rough, the dolphin start snapping! It is the best bite of the year and it is just a mile offshore. I wait the whole year to fish those few days. Basically, the rougher the weather, the better the dolphin fishing gets.
Wreck fishing deserves it’s own fishing report. The wreck fishing is so good over the next couple months. Amberjacks, almaco jacks, grouper, snapper, cobia and barracuda all take up residence (in concentrated numbers) on our deep wrecks this season. Jack fishing is incredibly fun. Amberjacks are the strongest fish in the ocean pound for pound. Their powerhouse strength and voracious appetite make jacks a great target fish to go after. They are beginning to show up on the 200-300ft deep shipwreck off our coast and their numbers will grow over the next month. These jacks are very aggressive and will fight for any available food they find. If you drop a bait down atop a shipwreck, if it doesn’t get eaten in the first 3 minutes, it’s best to reel in and go to another spot. Jacks do not let a bait sit unscathed for even a second. They inhale their prey, swallowing it whole, instantly on-sight. It is still in the beginning stages for wreck fishing off south Florida, but in another 2 weeks, wreck fishing will be superb.
Trolling the reef is also a great way to fish in March. In fact, its the best way to get all-around action. Trolling is such an effective technique because you are so mobile. You can troll different depths, different fishing zones and move around from area to area. Most importantly, we can listen to the radio and hear where the best bite is going on and go there. Trolling allows versatility. Not to mention that it is the best way to catch lots of fish. Reef trolling is great this month for catching kingfish, blackfin tuna, barracuda, bonito and sometimes a wahoo. You even have a chance at sailfish, even though sailfish action is starting to trail off this month. You can catch anything trolling and/or drift fishing on the reef. Our drift boat, which mainly fishes the reef, catches a lot of big kingfish this time of year along with healthy numbers of snappers and grouper. Speaking of drift fishing, our drift boat catches of mutton snappers have gotten surprisingly good this week. As you can see, it’s a great time of year for everything. We’ve been looking forward to this good fishing for a while with the relatively slow January and February fishing these past couple months.
Anything can happen this time of year and it does! You can be fishing without a bite for 2 hours and suddenly you’re hooked up to a once-in-a-lifetime gamefish. This month is the Gold Rush for all our best fish of the year. So get out there and catch yourself a sea monster. Good luck fishing out there over the next couple weeks. I’ll sea ya on the water.
Capt. Andy Roydhouse