March is a transitional month. Some days are mild and sunny. Other days can be cold and blustery. That said, temperatures are on rise! Yesterday water temperature was around 57 degrees. The whiting bite still hasn’t happened. On the other hand, it wont be long! Whiting are indicator fish. When whiting are present predator fish wont be far behind. Fishermen are seeing occasional schools small menhaden popping up the rivers. One report already of glass minnows showing up. Glass minnows and small menhaden are good indicators for sea trout and redfish. The marsh grass is beginning to show life with lots of green toward the base of this plant. Shrimp is available at Adams Bait House as well as fiddlers and mud minnows. When fishing shrimp for slow reluctant sea trout try breaking the hone of the shrimp. Some fishermen believe breaking the hone puts scent into the water. Likely breaking the hone makes the shrimp more vulnerable. When fishing for springtime sea trout sometimes these fish will sometimes just peck at the bait. These are reluctant fish. Their digestive processes have yet to turn on. Trick is just to wait until fish commits. With that said some conservation groups (with the Coastal Conservation Association leading the initiative) are recommending releasing those sea trout 18 inches and larger. Recent winters have been mild enabling the sea trout to survive with the exception of last winter. Until scientist can get a fix on sea trout populations in local waters fishermen are encouraged to release the large females. One fish (over 18 inches) can put over 17 million egg back into the fishery. It is always a good idea to go light on the largest roe sea trout!
As the temperature warm the bite will be heating up!. With coming days warming into the 80’s the bite will quickly change from a winter bite to spring bite. Already the large winter time school of redfish are breaking up into smaller groups of fish. Reds are beginning to show in more traditional redfish haunts as well as on the flats. Still a little early for sea trout and whiting! Typically when the azaleas are in boom sea trout is picking up! Azaleas on the islands are in the bud stage with a few plants blooming. As soon as the tides subside fishing should be picking up!
For right now the best inshore bite remains to be redfish and sheepshead. Near shore and offshore fishermen have done extremely well on sea bass and sheepshead when conditions have allowed fishermen to get offshore. Some trophy size fish have been boated!
Water clarity in the Savannah River system has been poor making fishing difficult. The better bite has been in saltier, cleaner water near the sounds. Large evening tides this week will make fishing challenging. Those fishing this week will likely find a better bite during the morning hours: fishing the last of incoming, first of the outgoing. Once the currents start moving they will be swift carrying lots of slit and debris. As we move into the first week of April tides will subside into the 6 and 7 foot range improving fishing.
Hope this of interest and help! Fish On!
Capt. Jack McGowan