Putting it mildly, this March was a wild ride. The month started with the beaches and hotels full. I was in high demand and struggling to keep up with the back to back charters, thanks to the perfect weather. Throughout Cape Coral and all of Southwest Florida we were extremely fortunate to have a short lived and mild winter. March temperatures averaged 10 degrees hotter then normal and we were very fortunate to have light winds.
Also with very little rain and not getting huge amounts of water from Lake O, the water was cleaner then I had ever seen it. The beaches all around Cape Coral, were crystal clear and looked like a post card from the Bahamas. This combination kicked off the spring fishing patterns early, and they are second to none. Everything was lined up to be a record breaking March.
A lot of my fishing charters lead us offshore, where you truly never know what you will get into. In the beginning of the month large shrimp boats, that frequently patrol the gulf for its delicious treasures, would anchor outside of Boca Grande Pass. Prior to the fisherman going to bed for the day, they would dump all of the bycatch from their nets. This creates its own eco system with big sharks being at the top of the food chain.
We hooked into and landed many angry bull sharks over 6 feet long while fishing near the shrimp boats. Multiple days we could see 5 sharks circling underneath the boat and would watch them as they ate our baits and the fight was on. Most fights lasted longer then 30 minutes and ended with the sharks swimming away healthy and the fisherman with sore forearms.
While offshore my fishing charters would frequently stop and take an hour or more to bottom fish with shrimp. This type of fishing landed us plenty of action and plenty of dinners. We would consistently catch, red grouper, snappers of all varieties, sheepshead, and porgies, all of which made for excellent table fare.
Some clients chose to take it home and cook it themselves while others chose to bring their fresh catch to some of the local restaurants that will cook the fish and the side dishes for you. Also while offshore, we would always keep our eyes peeled looking for action on top of the water. We lucked into multiple bonita that way, they are always a crowd pleaser with extremely fast drag screaming runs and pure power. They are a battle from start to finish.
The inshore fishing was also great this March. Most of the fishing charters began with using lures in order to quickly catch, mackerel, lady fish, and blue fish to use for shark bait. The spotted sea trout fishing has been second to none lately while drifting the shallow flats. We usually would throw lures in order to cover more ground and have more hook ups that way. It was not unusual for groups to catch them three and four at a time throughout the month.
There were also plenty of redfish and snook around willing to put up a big fight and test any anglers ability and tackle. Last but certainly not least inshore, the early warm temperatures have got the tarpon moving into our area in full force. I couldn’t talk any of my fishing charters into targeting them but now that they are here it is time to fish them hard and land some trophies.
As I type this it is the end of the month and Cape Coral / the world has gone crazy due to the Coronavirus. Most people are home with their families and staying out of harms way, which is a good thing. My family and I have been taking every opportunity we get to spend time together on the boat and away from people.
The fishing continues to be excellent. I know everyone is watching nervously and hoping that this is over soon and life gets back to normal. When that time comes I’ll be waiting for you ready to help catch a memory you will never forget.