So Many Options By: Capt. T J Shea

Florida locals know March for boating and baseball. With spring break, spring training and the spring bait run all arriving right around the same time, there is no shortage of options to peak every interest. Our Winter conditions should subside, as the waters make their way back into the 70’s off of the central Gulf Coast. Traffic on the water will rival Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and patience will be at a premium crossing bridges to get to most Florida beaches.  For the charter for hire and boat rental industry, the days will be a blur for six solid weeks, as we host guests from all over the country.

We expect fishing conditions in our favor, as the warmer water temps fire up everything we enjoy catching. Anglers who stay close to shore should see bent rods all day.  Either bottom fishing for snapper and hogfish or trolling for Spanish and king mackerel, you can’t go wrong. Out of season amberjack and gag grouper stack up on large structure from 45 to 80 feet, offering anglers a solid catch-and-release fight and photo op. To land legal size red grouper, we will make the run to at least 110 feet. This normally puts us near a few sink holes and wrecks that are well worth trolling, once we reach our limits of grouper. Tuna, smoker kings and even a few wahoo always seem to make their way into the fish box this time of year.  While certain times of the year can be a grind with the poles, Spring time fishing tends to deliver memories to last a lifetime.

For those who scuba this time of year, we welcome putting away the 7 and 5 mil suits and start to get back to normal Florida diving. Drier conditions yield clear, clean water for divers to be greeted by just about every Gulf species. Those yearning to see sharks may just get lucky, as spinners and sand bars come out in higher numbers following the Spanish mackerel. Before rolling in, remember to check your gear that has probably been stored away for a few months.  Nothing can ruin a dive trip faster than broken straps and free flowing regulators.

With any luck, March brings light winds and sunny skies, allowing us to play our favorite game.  When that’s not the case, a beer and a brat at a ballpark, reminding us of when we were young, isn’t a bad backup plan either.