St. Augustine


We’ve had a fairly cool winter, and the water has been as clear as I’ve seen it in many years. Sight-fishing has been about as good as it gets for redfish. Speaking of redfish, there have been some big schools of fish up shallow this winter as well. Hopefully, March will stay on the cool side, and if it does, the redfish will continue to stay schooled. Look for reds in shallow areas that have a darker mud or oyster-laden bottom. On clear days, the sun will warm the water a few degrees in those areas, making a great spot for the reds to hang out and warm up a bit. Bait (mullet, minnows, shrimp) will also hold in these “hot” spots, and it’s common knowledge that the reds will be in the same areas the bait is. If it warms up quickly this month, the water will start to get murky, and one way to spot schooled up reds, is to look for wakes or “muds” caused by the fish moving. I’ve been locating some big schools this way just about all winter when the sun has been hiding.

The latter half of this month marks the start of my favorite time of year to fish for trout. Once the water starts to warm up a bit, the trout will be going crazy. There’s nothing like watching that big trout come soaring out of the water after your top-water plug. Creek mouths, rip rap, and just about anywhere you have some moving water are going to be great places to target the specs. Remember to loosen the drag just a little when throwing top-water plugs for trout. They have somewhat delicate mouths, and you don’t want to rip the plug away from the fish before they actually get it. Of course, if top-water isn’t your thing, a jig and soft plastic will do the trick for the specs as well. My go-to rig of choice for trout (and reds too!) is a Saltwater Assassin 1/8-ounce jighead with a Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad paddle tail. My favorite colors are the ones with greens, browns, and gold. Check out the Mississippi Hippie color. You can thank me later! Jig, jig, pause–repeat.

The flounder bite has been pretty steady all winter long with a few nice sized flatties caught in the creeks and flats. This month, find your favorite creek hole and drag a mud minnow pinned to a 1/4oz jighead as slowly as you can across the bottom, and you’re sure to find at least a few hungry flatties hanging around.

The black drum bite has been pretty good over the last couple of months and should continue this month. Most of my fish have been in the 3 to 5 lb. range, and were caught in the deeper parts of the creeks off the ICW. The best baits have been live/fresh/dead shrimp, or a fiddler crab. An hour on either side of low tide has been producing the best bite, especially around the new and full moons. Be sure to check out our daily fishing reports with pictures at

Capt. Tommy Derringer