Spring like conditions have settled in the past week giving anglers a taste of what's to come over the next few months. The temperatures will warm and the fishing will heat up throughout this entire region of the Nature Coast. Trout, red fish, and Spanish mackerel will all be on the move and feeding.
An effective tactic to use in skinny water right now is to work mangrove and saw grass shoreline with your trolling motor. Good lures to cast in March are top water plugs like a Rapala Skitterwalk or jerk baits like the Lil Johns by Mirro-lure on a 1/8 ounce jig. Target shoreline with spotty bottom that has a mixture of rocks and grass. Move down the shoreline just fast enough to make enough casts to fully cover an area. If you locate fish be ready to quietly anchor and work the area until the bite slows down. Slowly fishing an area with a trolling motor is a great way to find fish, and is also a great way to safely learn new territory.
Look to the deeper grass flats for a great Spanish mackerel bite right now. Drift 6-12 feet of water and cast silver spoons or rapidly work jerk baits. Another productive tactic is to anchor up current from structure and deploy a chum bag. A chum slick can really get the bite going and will attract cobia right to the boat. Have a large spinning outfit ready to toss a live pin fish or white bait to one of these bruisers, because lighter equipment won't handle a big cobia.
Be ready to "stick and move" as these Spring conditions begin to settle in. These fish are all frisky and on the move. Target a variety of locations until you locate fish. Some areas hold fish on one day and are unproductive the next.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Reach him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352) 238-3581.