Early Spring Fishing Report
At the time of this writing it doesn’t feel like spring is starting. It is in the 50s and raining. Look for these cold fronts to taper off in the next month. The winds will usually continue for the month of March and April but it will begin to be a warmer wind.
This month will trigger the spawning of the sheephead and the black drum. Look for the most activity leading up to the full moon on the 16th of March and continuing through the new moon on the 30th. During this period is your best chance to get one of the big spawners. For the sheephead, look in areas within a mile or two around our local inlets. Fish around docks, rock piles or oyster outcrops. Use fiddler crabs for the smaller ones and a 1/4 of a blue crab for the larger ones. This is also the best time to catch a big black drum which will range from 30 to 80 pounds. Fish in the deeper water from the mouth of the inlet and throughout the deeper holes in the ICW. Look for water over 20 feet deep. Use a 1/2 of fresh blue crab on a 4/0 circle hook attached to a Carolina rig. Use bigger tackle that can handle these big fish. I use 6000 series reels attached to 80-100 lb. class jigging rods. Take extra time to vent these fish and revive them. Their eating quality is poor for any of the fish over 20 pounds.
March will also trigger the changing of the seasons. We will start with our run of triple tail off of the beach. Look for free swimmers or fish hanging around structure. I prefer to throw a fly or a lightly rigged ZMan shrimp on a cork or light jig head. Some of these fish will top 10 – 15 pounds. They are a great fighting fish and one of my favorite fish to eat. In April the jacks and shark will start to show up in our region. These fish are a blast to catch. They both have some amazing pulling power. Use big ZMan paddle tails or pogies or big deep clousers to catch them.
In late April or May we will have our annual cobia run. These fish have had much attention over the last few years so be prepared to battle a few other boats out there. If you see another boat hooked up just stay your distance off of them and look for additional manta rays in the area. If you hurry up and race over to the hooked up boat you will scare away the ray with the fish and nobody will catch anymore fish. It is best to have the sun at your back and go 5-7 mph looking for free swimmers or fish hanging on the back of manta rays. When you see one stay as far away as you can and cast toward the back of the manta ray. When you get a bite from a cobia make sure you give it a big hook set. These fish have very hard mouths and like to crush your bait. Big flies with rabbit zonker tails or big 7″ jerk baits are great baits to get a bite.
These are the species that will be near our inlets and off of the beaches in the next few months of spring. Keep an eye out for my next report.
Until then, Tight lines.
Drum Man Charters