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March Panhandle Fishing Forecasts


March-01-CobiaCan you say Cobia! March is the unofficial start to the new fishing year! March brings a variety of new species to the mix as the weather is warming, but the one that really gets fisherman fired up is cobia! 

You will also see the first king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle of the year. Many of the early kings will be very good sized, over 40lbs. Over the last few years, the kings have shown up in great quantities. The piers have had 40 or 50 a day caught when the weather is right late in the month. 

Spanish will also invade the inshore areas, pompano numbers go up, and spring breakers fill the beaches. 

Read more: MARCH Fishing Forecast

Surf
The king mackerel bite will be hot this month. Near shore, you will see a lot of boats trolling for them around the whistle buoy, which is approximately 4 miles out of the St. Andrews Pass. This area holds a lot of bait, thus draws the kings. Be prepared for anything while fishing this area. Every year some very large wahoo and a few sailfish are hooked by people either trolling or flat lining baits for kings. Bottom fishing near shore will be slow, as the areas have been hit hard all summer. You will be best off traveling down the coast a bit then heading off a few miles, where there are a lot of natural bottom areas. Mahi-mahi dolphin will be caught near shore around weed patches.


Pier
Pier fishing should be pretty good this month. Most of the action will come from king mackerel and Spanish mackerel. If you visit the pier at night, you will see some of our hard-core shark fishermen out there all night. If you haven't seen these guys fight a large shark from the pier, it is well worth the trip out there.


Bottom Fishing
Red Snapper will still be open until the 10th.  They can be caught over a variety of bottom structures using live pinfish, cigar minnows, herring and frozen sardines, cigar minnows and squid.  Black and Gag Grouper open on the 1st.  Large live pinfish, squirrel fish and grunts make great baits.  Most grouper will be caught from natural live bottom areas.  Amberjack is closed.


Offshore
Blue marlin, white marlin, wahoo, swordfish and dolphin should all be caught offshore this month. Fish the areas around the Point or the Squiggles for the pelagics. It is a little further, but if you have the fuel capacity to take you there, the Desoto Canyon is another excellent spot to troll - or set-up for a night drift and a chance to catch some swordfish. Offshore bottom fishing should also be good this month in 200+ feet of water. Keep a flat-line out for Mr. Wahoo when he comes by.


Bay
If you are fishing for trout up in the bays, you will want to be out there right at daybreak and fish a top-water plug over the flats. This technique will usually work good for the first couple hours in the morning and then just prior to sunset. During the day, you will be best off fishing live bait such as LY's or shrimp either under a popping cork or fished right on the bottom on a jig-head. Redfish can be caught in the same manner in the same areas you are finding the trout. Mangrove snapper will be around most bay structure and can be caught on light tackle and small live shrimp. Spanish mackerel will be available, but they will be spread out throughout the bay. Flounder will be caught throughout the bay as well. Live bull minnows or plastic grubs fished in the sandy holes of the bay should produce a bite.

WJHG Fish & Game Forecast

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