Paddle Power in March 2023

Spring comes quickly to our East Coast Florida waters and March is a month of transition. Less frequent, even nonexistent cold fronts give way to mild temperatures and sunny days. The afternoon thunderstorms of summer are not going to be prevalent for several more months and the water is still a bit on the cool side. That cooler water and lack of rainfall set the stage for our clearest lagoon waters of the year. On dryer spring to summer years that clear water can hold out well into our warmer months. Rain and its associated runoff are a large contributor to the lack of lagoon water clarity. The clearer water allows us to do one of my favorite types of fishing and something that was a cornerstone to lagoon anglers for years before our water issues. Sight Fishing!

The act of sight fishing is simply stalking around in clear shallow water waiting to see your target before presenting a bait or lure directly to it. This is more like hunting than if you were to fish in the same area via a repetitive “blind” cast technique. In my mind keeping the lure or bait in the water will lead to more strikes and more caught fish. However, you cannot downplay slowly observing and waiting for that perfect shot on a nice fish and the exhilarating scene of a fish turning to engulf your offering. Of course, those ever so common flats style shallow water skiffs are literally built for this fishing and for obvious reason do the job of stalking fish very well. However, kayaks can achieve the same fishy results with a significantly easier price tag. Some of my best days sight fishing have come off the kayaks and their ability to stalk the shallow so effectively. Even if you do not have the ability to stand on your kayak you can still sight fish. The idea is to go slow enough and pay close enough attention that as soon as the fish is seen a cast is made. This fishing tends to be minimalist and does not require bait, though a couple fresh shrimp might tempt some stubborn fish to chew. Typically, a small selection of lures that imitate bait fish or shrimp will more than cover your needs. Fly fishing is the act of making angling as complicated as possible, but it too is tailor made for this type of fishing. So, hold that cast and keep your eyes peeled, just be prepared for sight fishing to be the only way you want to fish, because it is addicting.