Ponce Inlet Offshore Fishing Report: March 2014

Blackfin tuna are a favorite catch for deepwater fisherman trolling during March.
Blackfin tuna are a favorite catch for deepwater fisherman trolling during March.

by Capt. Jon Zeller

The brutal and blustery cold weather experienced this winter will start to thaw with the beginning of spring this month. This warming trend should heat up the action for some of our favorite pelagic species. Directly off the beach, Spanish mackerel, blue fish and jack crevalle will be following the bait pods north. Look for the tastiest of mackerels to be first spotted in 67-69 degree water temperaturesouth of the inlet past the last condos, then becoming a regular fixture in the inlet itself. Troll small spoons , feathers or jigs on 20-40# mono leaders at 5-7 knots around the edges of surface schools of bait for the most strikes. As always, keep an eye on the bottom machine to mark schools of bait and fish anywhere from 20’ to 70’ of water.

The best sight casting opportunities will take place with the spring run of cobia. The larger gamefish are often seen in or near the bait pods off of the beach before the migration of “host” manta rays appear. While searching for bait pods or rays, proceed slowly and be ready for the “free swimming” cobia that always seems to surprise the keenest lookouts. Jigs tipped with bait, artificial lures or a live bait are all good choices when casting a medium weight spinning combo at a fish that may exceed 60 pounds. Bottom fishing offshore has been excellent as anglers have been finding cobia, triggerfish, redeyes and amberjack willing to take baits presented. Triggerfish have been biting well in the reefs from 90’-110’ by anglers usingsmall pieces of cut bait 8-10 cranks off of the bottom. Curious cobias have been following hooked bottom fish up to the boat so be ready to cast a bait to the inquisitive fish.

Further offshore, the trolling action kicked off to a great start last month. Large wahoo and blackfin tuna will continue to make reels scream along the edge of the continental shelf. Wahoo in the 70 pound range have not been uncommon with a monster 90 pounder was captured recently. Look for the fish in waters from 69 to 75 degrees to be near structure with bait marking on your bottom machine. Sometimes the largest wahoo’s may be caught in 21-23 fathoms with 67 – 70 degree water that looks “green” so do not be afraid to start fishing inshore of the ledge itself.

Capt. Jon Zeller
New Smyrna Beach
Billfish Invitational Sport Fishing Charters
(386) 290-4181