South Shore Tampa Bay By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

March Madness

March is one of my favorite months of the year; this is the month when Mother Nature goes mad.

This time of year, the wind blows like a witch, you get cold, wet, hot, dry, windblown and sun burnt, but somehow you catch fish. Look for the no-see-ums, they should be called “we-hate-ums”, but snook love um.

Here’s an example of Mother Nature’s madness. No-see-ums swarm in, I’m told mosquitos and love bugs eat no-see-ums and come in behind them like a cleaning crew. The mosquitos get eaten by minnows as they dip down into the water to lay their larva; love bugs fall in the water by the thousands from collisions with boats and strong winds, and get eaten by minnows as well. Pinfish, green backs, sand perch, ladyfish and other baitfish all feed on minnows, and the above baitfish are all snook candy. March is a feast for all.

Here are some more things to check out. When you see love bugs in late March, start looking for tarpon. If you can find them, “match the hatch” and only cast big threadfins.

When the white pelicans leave us and migrate back north, look for the trout and reds bunching up on the grass flats and estuary mouths. When you start seeing big threadfins at the makers, cans, buoys and bridges look for big Spanish mackerel, kingfish and big sharks.

When the moon goes full in early March, go out night snapper fishing. Chum like crazy with 1 x 1 inch cut threadfins on either an incoming or outgoing semi slack tide.

Use four to eight pound clear mono leader tied with a loop knot to a 1/0 Mustad “J” hook. Hide the hook in your cut bait and send it down with your chum into the ball of snapper behind the boat.  Look for those rip tides when the winds blow one way and the tide streams the opposite direction. Baitfish get caught and worn out in the rip tide and the gamefish are on standby to take advantage of the situation.

Fish the flow, trout and snook are ambush predators. These gamefish live to see a baitfish come struggling by caught in a heavy current.

Good luck fishing during this glorious time of the year!

For a charter with Capt. Joel Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company call 813-267-4401 or visit or visit him in person at Little Harbor Resort at Hooks Waterfront Bar and Grill. To sign your child up for the summer fishing camp visit For upcoming tournaments visit and