Fishing report: Good weather, fishing greet March

You’ve heard the old axiom, “When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” This year, ‘the windy month’ arrived to nice, calm weather, so maybe the reverse will be true.

Folks who put stock in ages-old maxims will be expecting a rough, blowy day on March 31st. Hopefully it will arrive also to the good fishing we saw at the front end of the month.

While anglers are finding fish all over, freshwater fishers are generally faring a little better than their salty counterparts. Nice speck catches have been made on Lochloosa, Rodman, and Newnans.

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For bass, add Orange and Santa Fe Lakes to that list. Orange is our best-known lake for producing supersized bigmouths, and we’ve heard whispers of more giant double-digit Orange bass over recent days. Bass anglers, of course, are notoriously tight-lipped about their big fish.

Although our best fishing waters are all generally productive and totally fishable, some anglers find reasons to bellyache. We hear that Orange is too weedy. Rodman, of course, is “too stumpy.”

Newnans has become too “shallow” or “mucky.” The Harris Chain of Lakes at Leesburg is “fished to death.”

At least Santa Fe—both the lake and the river—enjoy near-unanimous praise these days. In a Lake Santa Fe bass tournament last weekend, a 25-pound limit was weighed … and that’s a heavier winning weight than any of our other lakes produced.

In addition to the good bass action (for both largemouths and Suwannees) on the Santa Fe River, locals casting Beetle Spins, tiny Rapalas, and Bitsy Minnows are pulling in cooler-full catches of fine redbellies.

On the gulf, it’s big trout time and lots of jumbos over 25 inches long have been boated over the last few weeks. As usual, the trout tend to run bigger the farther north you go along the Big Bend coast.

Greg Brown and George Deloach fished out of Steinhatchee on a beautiful day on Wednesday. They ran north toward Grassy Island and fished the grass flats in areas that had numerous sandy “potholes.”

Greg had been there alone the day before and had caught 14 good redfish and two trout—and so the anglers expected another red-heavy day.

But their twitchbaits were more often smoked by nice-sized trout. They totaled a dozen reds up to 27 ¾ inches long and 20 trout averaging 20 or so inches.

The biggest trout we’re hearing about now are being taken by anglers launching at Keaton Beach. Much like the aforementioned bass fishermen, the big-trout specialists don’t like to reveal much about their catches.

North Florida surf fishers are beginning to stir, knowing that the best time for catching an East Coast favorite is almost here. From Crescent Beach up to Ponte Vedra, late March and April are considered the prime weeks for pompano fishing.

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