Hello Citrus County anglers, March is here, and it’s trout time. This month is one of the most productive times of year to tackle that “Gator” trout you’ve been after. Trout are typically not on the grass flats, but on hard bottom such as rocky points, rock and oyster bars, creek mouths and also “yellow” limestone bottom. Slow suspending baits shine this time of year and soft plastic jerk baits and hard baits such as the MirrO’dine and Unfair Lures Rip-N-Slash are some of the favorites. Usually, the incoming tide is best and when the gulf hits the 64 to 68 degree mark, it’s time to go trout fishing.
Sheepshead are still on the scene, if one wants to venture a bit offshore. High profile structures are where you want to concentrate your efforts. A live shrimp or piece of fresh shrimp is all that’s needed for success. Be ready for some Spanish mackerel too. If you get cut off a time or two sending down a shrimp, put on a long shank hook and chum a bit. Very few fish burn a drag like a mackerel, and they are great fresh table faire as well.
Our resident snook population will be on the feed and after a winter of seeking comfort around the springs, they are ready to eat. Begin your trips in the middle part of the river, and target points with good current flow. A steady erratic twitch-twitch-pause retrieve, with just about any bait fish imitation plug, will work beautifully. Don’t forget to up your leader to at least 30 lb. fluorocarbon. There is a real possibility of encountering a snook in the 40 inch range, and you don’t want to be saying, “Good- bye”, before you get that catch-and-release photo.
With the warming temperatures and spring tides coming, the red fish will be more accessible. You can always have success with live shrimp, but now is the time to use an artificial. The ever reliable gold spoon is a spring time favorite for red fish. Put down the trolling motor, or push pole your boat, and ease along a rocky shore line. This is saltwater bass fishing as its finest. By doing so, it allows you to cover a lot of water, find new productive shore lines and hopefully, find an area that holds fish time and time again. Good Fishing!