Spring is in the Air

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Wow, spring is in the air and we didn’t seem to have much of a winter at all unlike our friends north of the Mason Dixon who got hammered again this year. God bless you, I don’t think I could do it. March in the middle keys Marathon / Key Colony Beach area offers a variety of fishing options to take advantage of. While many of our winter species are still abundant, the warmer than average water temperatures should help expedite the arrival of our spring and summer species. Permit Permit are making their way to the offshore wrecks and while they are still on the flats they can also be found on the wrecks south of Marathon and Key Colony Beach in limited numbers. Live crabs and jumbo shrimp are the go to baits for these fish. When fishing the wrecks for permit it’s important to try to fish incoming high water. These fish can be very picky and tend to have lock jaw in colder water, especially early in March. A good time to look for and target these fish is when the gulfstream is close to the reef so that incoming tide will bring some warmer water over the wrecks and greatly increase your odds of catching one or more of these gamefish. A half ounce jig tipped with a crab or monster shrimp is irresistible combined with 3 feet of twenty pound clear flourocarbon leader. Tarpon Tarpon are showing up on cue and again water temp is key. Cold water will shut them off, so pay attention and try to target these bad boys when the water is as warm as possible. While the monster tarpon probably won’t make their appearance until mid to late April, there will be plenty of fish in the 40 to 100 pound class to warm you up. The old fresh water fishing saying “match the hatch” also holds true for saltwater fishing, when it comes to bait. Tarpon will eat what’s available so mullet if abundant is great; but they will also eat pinfish, ballyhoo, crabs and a variety of top water plugs and sub surface swimming plugs. Don’t be afraid to mix it up until you get the right combination. After all, that’s how we figure all this stuff out. Sailfish Sailfish should start tailing this month as they make their annual migration south and west. East winds combined with an easterly current will stack up the seas and create the conditions to get these fish moving. Also keep an eye out for cobia and dolphin (mahi) in the same area just offshore of the reef line. Reefs & Wrecks Reef fishing remains consistent for a variety of the usual suspects, multiple species of snapper, kingfish and other mackerels are in good supply. The wrecks also offer a variety of heavy action from big mutton snapper, various jacks, kingfish and wahoo. Happy St Patrick’s Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you !!!! Manske


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