Charleston’s March Fishing Forecast By Capt. Mark Phelps

This has been one of the warmest winters I can remember and the water has stayed warmer than normal. This March may mean an early spring.

The key word for March is transition. The days will be longer and the weather will be warmer than the past few months, but we will still have some cold days.

Some days will have lots of action and other days will a little tough. Because the weather will change from hot to cold in March, you have to change your tactics to catch fish consistently.

When the weather is cool and calm, the redfish will be schooled up in their winter spots and you can have some great sight fishing to large schools on the flats.

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When the water turns warm, however, the fish often spread out. This means you have to be flexible with how you fish.

The fish might be in one location feeding like mad one day and be completely void of the area the next day.

When this happens you have to think like a fish and figure out what they went. Sometimes they have simply moved around the bend or to the other side of the channel.

With all the change and transition, you also have to change the type of bait you use each day.

When fish are schooled up, the DOA shrimp or jerk baits will work very well. However, when they spread out you might find the water is off color or the wind is blowing.

In this case you may need to try anything from cracked crab to cut mullet to mud minnows.

You will find that the redfish are finicky—one day they will eat only one thing, and the next day they will only eat something else.

This happens more in March than any other time of the year. If the weather is on the warm side you might start catching trout by the end of the month.

I would use a DOA shrimp or mud minnow under a popping cork to catch these. I like to drift a cork along the grass later in the day when the water is the warmest.

The trout that have moved into the marsh will go into warmer water next to the grass looking for something to eat.


The key thing to remember is to be flexible and don’t be afraid to change when, where, and how you are fishing to catch fish in March.

Sheepshead will also be very strong in March. Look for them to be schooled up and on the move to offshore wrecks to spawn this spring.

Live fiddler crabs will serve you well in this case. A very sensitive rod will also make a huge difference.

A great way to spend the day on the water is to book one of the area’s great guides.

Having fished in Charleston for almost twenty four years, I am extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this area.

As owner and operator of Shore Thang Charters, I would love to share my expertise with you on the water.

Captain Mark Phelps / Shore Thang Charters


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