Fishing Report – March is the month that all fishermen and fish have been waiting for.
Inshore fishermen can expect the cold red fish bite to thaw and become less stealthy. Fishermen can count on Berkley Gulp baits (jerk style with forked tail) rigged weedless to work when casting and retrieving in and around shallow areas with structure such as oysters and grass pods. The color of baits used should be determined by the color of water. (Clear water light colored baits.)
The bottom line to the month of March boils down to this: “When the water temperature hits 65 everything is alive!”
This means, once the red fish bite ends for the day, fishermen can try plain old bottom fishing in the sound near the mud flats for whiting. The best bait is going to little chunks of shrimp laced onto small hooks. Bull whiting are sometimes bigger than you think, and are lots of fun on light tackle!
The Georgia DNR has changed the size and bag limits on whiting – also known as southern kingfish. It’s now legal in Georgia to keep any size whiting and as many as you want. Note that all license Georgia saltwater fishermen are required to have a SIP (Saltwater Information Program) license.
Offshore fishermen can catch some of the biggest sheepshead and black drum during this month, and the bite is going to be very active. These fish are bulking up (feeding heavily) so that they will be ready to migrate back inshore. Best baits are purple back fiddlers, raw oyster, clam strips and green mussels.
When targeting fish listed in the snapper-grouper species, remember that new regulations require the use of circle hooks only! Best offshore circle hooks for sheepshead are Eagle Claw Lazer sharp L-197 G series. Best proven sizes are #1, #2, and 2/0.
There is sort of a new twist that can happen with targeting sheepshead at the artificial reefs. The reefs have been invaded by all sizes of black sea bass, which means you’re sheepshead bait most likely is in jeopardy. However, you do have options: only use fiddlers, green mussels, or clam strips as bait when targeting sheepshead and black drum. Never use squid, cut fish, or shrimp, because this is a black sea bass’ favorite meal.
If you start catching one black fish after another, I suggest stopping fishing for a while. This calms the black fish feeding frenzy.
When using green mussels as bait, it is illegal to pick your own unless it is from a designated safe shellfish area. If you purchase green mussels, keep your receipt as proof of purchase.
Follow along with Capt. Judy with Miss Judy Charters