Wadefishing Forecast for the Big Bend

March 2018 Wadefishing Forecast for the Big Bend
By: Gary Droze

When picking where to spend your wadefishing efforts, you could do a lot worse than revisiting a spot that produced under the same tidal conditions exactly a year ago.  In early spring, that strategy pays off in the smaller side creeks west of the main body of the Econfina River.  By March, those creek temperatures are in the sweet spot: not so cold that redfish and spotted seatrout flee for sanctuary in the nearby Aucilla River’s deeper holes, and not so hot that both species shun the shallow creeks, which will take a heat beating from the sun come summer.  This month is just the right time to fish these accessible creeks that flow in the Econfina River State Park.

Of course, “accessible” is a relative term here.  You won’t reach any of these waters after less than thirty minutes of mountain biking, marsh stomping, and creek headwaters splashing.  Plus, the state park is patrolled by herds of ornery feral hogs, and the water moccasin population is nowhere near endangered.  But do you want to catch fish or don’t you?

Now for specifics: Snipe Island is west of the main river.  It features a handful of slender, snaking (oops – I mean twisting!) creeks, such as Snipe, Bowden, and Double Sloughs.  All contain bends and drop-offs that hold fish at low tide.  To reach this area on foot, start by parking at the state park trailhead, just north of the fire station (4052 Econfina River Road).  Bike or hike 2.1 miles west, to the dribbling origin of Bowden Creek, which wiggles its way towards Snipe Island.  Traipse right down the middle of the creeklet until it widens and deepens.  Then start pitching freelined baits, small topwaters, or light swimbaits.  Your hike back to the car may be tougher, as you’ll be weighted down with fish.