If you’re coming to Florida soon, definitely plan on fishing. The spring migrations are in full effect.
Cobia are stacked up on the wrecks in Florida Bay. These bruisers are highly aggressive, and take lures and flies with abandon. Plus, they are one of the best eating fish in the ocean. You can hire a guide out of the Flamingo Marina, or make the run over from the upper Keys. It’s a beautiful trip.
Spotted seatrout, better known as speckled trout, are the most popular saltwater fish in Florida. Spawning season begins late March or early April, around the full and new moons. Thus, the big females feed like mad this time of the year to gather enough energy for the rigors of spawning. I’m talking fish ranging from five to 15 pounds. (The world record, caught in Fort Pierce, weighed more than 17 pounds.)
Normally, these big, older fish are incredibly wary and hard to catch. But they let their guard down somewhat this time of the year. Florida’s Indian River Lagoon is the place to catch them. It runs more than 150 miles from Jupiter north of Titusville.
As ocean temperatures rise and onshore winds push warm water, seaweed and floatsome inshore, mahi mahi, or dolphin as we call them locally, start pouring north along the west wall of the Gulf Stream current. They might be the perfect fish. They fight wildly, will take a tremendous diversity of lures, baits and flies, and they are mighty tasty.
There’s no better place to intercept them than Key West, or for that matter, anywhere in the Keys. But the fish have already shown up in good numbers as far north as Stuart. Pick a spot between Key West and Fort Pierce and you’ll get in on the action.
Shrimp hatches in Biscayne Bay fire up the tarpon bite off Miami. This is night fishing at it’s most exciting. Imagine a five-foot-long silver fish vaulting into the moonlight, gills rattling louder than a rattlesnake.
Freshwater anglers, this month and next, the buck bass school up and feed voraciously in big schools. Early and late you’ll catch lots of fish and topwater lures are the ticket. The big sows are still moving in and out on the moons, between spawning cycles. Fish heavy cover and you’ll likely land a personal best. Best areas include Lake Okeechobee, Lake Kissimmee and Everglades Holiday Park.