Southwest Florida Outdoors Forecast – March

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Gone are the dreary winter days not fit for man nor beast, and here are the temperate, mild days of hungry fish.

While March is a little bit on the “blustery” side of the weather, it is one of the best fishing months of the year.

Snook season opened March 1.  On my vessel, Snook are primarily a Catch & Release only species (I will make exceptions for injured fish, or the occasional guarantee it will be eaten fresh) . . . But they don’t seem to know the season has opened.

The big girls are starting to chew – between now and the spawn (April – July) many of these fish will add a third of their weight, between diet and baby snook.  What that means is that almost any bait placed in the right (wrong) place will be inhaled without worry.

Big pinfish, whiting (croaker), whitebait, shrimp, cut ladyfish or mullet – all will produce slot and over slot fish during March.

I look for ambush points – hopefully a little deeper water near mangroves, or maybe a dock near a point . . . The big girls are lazy feeders, so think like a fish.

For specifics, think Turtle and Bull Bay, or Whidden Creek . . . These areas feature a million points, all as likely to produce as the next.  Drop a mullet head next to one and give it 30 minutes.

Redfish are always ready to eat in March – a jumbo shrimp or DOA under a popping cork near those same ambush points will produce.

You can also run across the reds while drifting your favorite trout flat.  Springtime is known for it’s big gator trout – use the wind to your advantage and set up upwind; think live bait pegged 2-3′ below a cork. The deeper the grass, typically, the better the trout.

Sheepshead should remain a fair bet through the end of the month, as should inshore snapper and the Spanish Mackeral should be arriving any day now.

If you’re more interested in dry land this month, Spring Gobbler season is open (depending on if you’re South or North of SR 70 will affect your opening date).

My scouting lately has told me this should be a banner year for longbeards.  If you’re going to go, make SURE to scout early and often.   Opening weekend turkeys are vastly different birds than those that have been hunted for a couple of weeks.  The season isn’t long, so make the most of the few chilly mornings we have left and see if you can’t find a big Tom to take home.

Remember, Osceolas are the wariest of the United States Turkey Slam – work slow, call minimally, and make sure you’re invisible.

That’s it for March – a fantastic month that leads us right into tarpon season . . . If you want to fish with me, hit me up at or on social media @travisthompson . . . I still have a handful of dates open in both March and April.

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