Fishing Report 3/10/15, by Chip Willimon

image.jpg

As bad as February was March is really making up for it. Water temps keep climbing every day and the fish are really turning on. The main attraction is still the tarpon bite. Last week all the action seemed to be more up in the glades but now they are showing up all in Florida Bay. The edges of the lakes throughout the bay are holding good numbers of laid up fish, perfect fly targets. So there are tons of options because the glades bays and rivers are still holding tons of cooperative fish.

There are even a few fish coming from the live bait fishermen around the bridge channels. That fishery will get better and better as we head into April and May. Speaking of the bridges, Captain Shafter Johnston tried something a little different the other night that I absolutely love doing. He went out a little after the sun went down and anchored around some of the Islamorada bridges throwing big mullet imitating plugs around the pilings. He jumped 6 tarpon very quickly and called it a night. If you haven't ever tried this type of fishing it is a blast. The last time Shafter and I tried it we jumped well over a dozen. There is enough ambient light from street lights, and houses where you can see where to cast pretty well. The fish tend to blast plugs running on the surface or just under swinging with the current. Going from calm, quiet and peaceful to a topwater tarpon explosion is something everyone should experience.

March is also a great time to get that elusive permit. With the warm weather the permit have been going strong all through the Keys. Most years the last two weeks of March and the first week of April offers some of the best permit fishing of the year. They tend to really explode onto the flats on the feed just before heading offshore to the reefs and wrecks to spawn in April and May. The nice thing with Permit is a little wind helps the fishing. Actually ideal conditions are when it's blowing 10 to 15. A little chop on the water makes it much harder for them to hear or see you and you can get very close shots. The key is to be able to cast fly or spin accurately in windy conditions and also manage the bow that gets blown in your line once it hits the water.

Snook should continue to get better and better as the water warms too.

If you have dreamed of connecting with a big tarpon or permit now is the time.