The month of March is a time to get the cast nets back out! Water temperatures start to warm up a bit, the bait moves back into the harbor and the fishing turns on!
Catching bait can be a tricky job if you’re not on the water all the time, as the bait tends to move around so it’s hard to keep up with them. The first thing to look for while catching bait in the early spring would be deeper water. The bait fish tend to be in deeper water before the water starts to get really warm then at that time they move into the flats. An easy way to find the bait is to throw your net near a channel marker. Bait tends to hang around the markers because it gives them a structure to hide behind. What I like to do is to go out in the early morning, anchor up near a channel marker and chum. I use tropical fish food for my chum but there are a lot of different types of chum out there for purchase. Chum for about 10 to 15 minutes, getting a nice chum slick going, you can also add menhaden oil to your chum to create more of a bait oil slick on top of the water. Now I normally use my last year’s nets for throwing around markers just in case you hang up on structure down there, you don’t want to ruin your brand new net! I typically use an 8 to10 foot net with quarter inch mesh, medium to heavy weight, to help it sink faster in the deeper water.
Now that you’ve caught your bait it’s time to go fishing! The spring is one of my favorite times to fish. The Snook and Redfish start to move into the flats, around the islands and endless they start to feed up and become very eager to chase white bait around this time of the year. I like to use 10lb braided line with a 30lb fluorocarbon leader and a 2/0 circle hook. One thing you can do after you get set up on your fishing spot and you have a nice school of fish in front of you is take some of your bait and chum with them. This puts the fish into a feeding frenzy and makes it a lot easier for them to bite your bait!
As we all know, Snook is still a catch and release fish right now in the Charlotte Harbor/Peace River area but they are one of the most fun catch and release fish species for inshore fishing. So get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather we are having here in Southwest Florida and catch some fish!
Here is a great picture of early springtime fishing! Snook on!
Capt. George Frantz was born and raised in Punta Gorda, FL. He has been fishing the waters in and around Charlotte Harbor since he was a kid! Call Capt. George today to find out what is biting and to book your next guided fishing charter adventure 941-628-2314. Check out our website for more awesome fishing pictures www.southwestflcharters.com