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NE FL March Surf Fishing Report
NE FL March Surf Fishing Report
loop-single-reply.phpMarch 7, 2023 at 10:04 pm
It’s March in Northeast Florida and I’ve been seeing reports of keeper pompano being caught for at least the last two weeks. Last Thursday I had a meetup with several of my Fishin’ Girls here and I was able to land my first keeper pompano of the year! Aside from that, we hooked some nice big fat bluefish as well as some larger whiting over 14 inches. Those and an Atlantic sharpnose shark made an amazing feast that night!
I haven’t been able to fish as much as I want this year because almost every weekend we are representing Fishin’ Girl at a festival in different towns, but the reports I am seeing are compelling me to make time to get out there and pile some more groceries in the cooler. We did get to meet Damon Pullias (J’Gille Founder), and his family and friends at the festival in Melbourne, FL, which was really cool!
Let’s dive in and see what you can expect for surf fishing in March in Northeast Florida, complete with some sweet tips and tricks.
I’m happy to report that the sandfleas are making a comeback! Over the last week or so I have had more people tell me that they are finding them—and large enough to use for bait. Sandfleas are one of the best live, natural (and FREE) baits to use for targeting pompano. Whiting like them too. Just make sure they are not too large or the fish won’t be able to get their mouths on them too well.
If you want to target bluefish, try taking a smaller whiting that you catch and cut it into chunks or strips. Fillet it like you would for eating, keeping the skin on, and then cut into strips, taking off any fins hanging off (I’ve lost fish because they grab the fins and I start reeling before they are actually hooked on). I put the hook through the thickest area and through the skin to keep it on the hook better, along with securing it with a piece of Fishbites (normally any color crab). Just make sure you are using a thicker line so the blues don’t cut right through it.
When it comes to baiting for pompano, Courtney Woznek with Life4Reel Fishing Adventures in Jacksonville reminds us to be sure to match the hatch. She says, “Sandfleas, clams, and crab are the ticket; and don’t forget your Fishbites. Remember to stagger your baits in different areas and distances to find the fish and keep them in place with a sputnik sinker from The Sinker Guy.”
I’ve found lately that shark have been thick in areas I’ve been fishing, and we are catching them on all kinds of rigs—even 20-pound mono double-drop pompano rigs! I typically will take a whiting head and toss it out on either a fish-finder or Carolina rig made with heavy duty line and tackle to target larger species that might be roaming. If you catch a smaller whiting, keep it for bait. Remember that fish like fresh food too!
Weather and Water Temps
I’ve been surprised just how warm it has been last month, and the fish are proof that water temperatures are warmer than usual! Courtney notes, “The temperatures are really heating up and so is the springtime fishing in Northeast Florida. The whiting bite has been steady, and anglers are filling their coolers. Pompano are starting to show up and as the water temperatures continue to rise; they’ll be here in numbers very soon!”
You can keep a direct watch on the water temperature in the surf by using the Magic Seaweed app and looking up your favorite beach. I have found the water temperatures to be very accurate because it is made for surfers. The free version also tells you all kinds of helpful information in the forecast area such as tide, wind, barometric pressure, and a lot more! I check this app several days before I’m planning my fishing trips and charters, and it’s always been very helpful. I check it to see the water temperature while I’m at the beach to help me know what rigs and bait I should be using based on the tide and water temperature.
Courtney has a lot of great tips for your surf-fishing strategy in March. She tells us to “Keep in mind that matching your hook size to your bait size is crucial for a great presentation, and most of the fish that we catch in the surf have small mouths. so you don’t need huge baits or to use anything larger than a 1/0 or 2/0 hook on your double dropper rigs.
I don’t know about you, but lately I have been getting monster sized shrimp from the bait shops. I used to be happy about this, but I don’t use very large pieces of shrimp or any bait when I’m targeting pompano or whiting. Whenever I get a larger shrimp like that, I either freeline it live on a Carolina rig as bait for a bigger species or use it fresh dead and cut it into 3-4 smaller baits. My fishbites are cut down into fingernail-sized pieces, which also helps them last longer!
Courtney says, “The key is finding clean water and knowing how to identify good structure (like troughs, runouts, holes, and sandbars). When I first started surf fishing I had a hard time figuring out how someone could look at the water and say “that’s a 7 out of 10” when it came to water quality and clarity. Super clear and very dirty are no-brainers, it’s that middle area that can be tricky. I think the easiest way I have found to discern the levels was to look for the clean water line and judge against that, and also to look in the mid-calf deep water and see how easily I can see the sand at that level. The more you’re out there, the easier it becomes to determine water clarity.
One last thing. We will be at a few more large festivals all over Florida through the end of April getting the word out about our women’s fishing community, teaching kids and adults how to cast, and making our new branded Fishin’ Girl products available. We will be in Palm Coast March 11-12, then following weekends in Lake Helen, Port St. Lucie, and Orange City. You can find all the dates and locations on our Facebook page. If you are near one of the towns we will be visiting, please come out and say hello!
I hope this has been helpful and thanks again for reading! Tight lines!
Cathy Sanders is the founder of Fishin' Girl, LLC and is dedicated to gathering women who love fishing and want to enjoy it together. Call to book a trip, or visit Fishin' Girl on the web.
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loop-single-reply.php2 weeks, 4 days ago
Awesome report, once again, Cathy! I’m Damon’s partner, JC, and am sorry I didn’t get to see you in Melbourne! I’m holding down for the fort in Jax. We’ll def have to go fishing up here sometime!AuthorPostsViewing 1 reply thread