Paddle Power in March 2024

Spring is coming fast to east central Florida. The inhabitants of the water and land take notice. Many of the birds and other wildlife will introduce this year’s young to the bright new world. The mighty osprey is a great example of a cornerstone species and apex predator with the ability to thrive. You can sometimes see a new nest pop up on a natural or not so natural perch high above the water’s edge. Just like the more land-based animals, several of our most famed finned friends have the next generation in mind. Two notable gamefish of the area will be first in line to do their springtime business. Both black drum (early spring) and seatrout (later spring into summer) will look to those full and new moon nights to congregate in their respective locations to spawn by expelling eggs and milt into the water column where they mix and become fertile. Those moon events are key to all fish and their spawning activity and can have a large effect on the fishing. The schooling activity that is directly associated with spawning and those moons will have potential to put you on some great action. However, if you find yourself in the midst of the act of spawning you might not be able to buy a hit with everything in your wallet. The black drum that we have all over our lagoons and beaches will be hard to beat as a primary target, though the trout will garner some needed attention as the month comes to an end. Schools of the drum will be moving along the flats, drop-offs and bridges and make for such a fun target. When in the shallows there relaxed demeanor and poor eyesight combine with their coloring to give you a very noticeable sight fishing target. In the deeper waters around bridge structures the challenge is a bit higher. Of course, technology like side scan sonar helps find the large schools, but you can still do well by just soaking some nice baits on the bottom around the piling sets. Drums are not the pickiest of eaters when found, but they are particular about the grub they seek. They are almost exclusively crustacean eaters. So, baits like shrimp and crab get the look from these hard fighters. Many times, you can actually hear the drumming of the larger schools of big fish from the surface around bridges.