Can you believe it’s already March??? I have to say this winter has not been to bad overall, fingers crossed we make it through April mild and that would be a great start to the summer! The fishing has already been a little better with the milder weather; it really is looking good for this spring! Here are the fishing opportunities for March that I like to target.
In March the Redfish finally start to move around a little more than they have all winter. Not that they don’t move around in the winter; they just start to show up in place’s they like more during warmer times of the year. This is the time of the year you need to get out and find where the Redfish are going and showing up. In the cooler months I’ve seen crustacean patterns work better for Redfish; due to the fact that these baits are a little easier to catch, than say baits like fish patterns. The baitfishes are not really moving yet, but the crustaceans are coming out of the mud and the Redfish know it!
On warmer days the crustaceans will move more and these are the days you need to look for Redfish during March. Working scented baits like Berkley Gulp and Gulp Alive in patterns two and three inch shrimp, two inch peeler crab and 3” ghost shrimp should get the Redfish to bite. These baits don’t have paddle tails so you can work them very slow, which is still very important because the water still be pretty cool in March. Find those banks where the sun can warm up shallows just a little more than other places. Look for dark bottom banks and places with less current these are the areas where the water will be warmer and the Redfish will be feeding. Remember to keep your eyes peeled in the shallow water areas for Reds, March can be a very good sight fishing month; just make sure you work the baits a little slower with a fluorocarbon leader for those clearer spring waters.
March can be another mouth when Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing will pick up. You usually do not see as big of fish in March, but the numbers can be good some days. In March the Stripers will start to move in to a little bit shallower waters, I look for the Stripers in three to eight feet of water in the early spring. This is when you need to also shallow up your presentation, go lighter with you tackle. I prefer Berkley Gulp jerkshad and Berkley Havoc grass pig lures; I use colors pearl, chart pepper neon and new penny (swamp gas). Using swim bait hooks size 5/0 in 1/8 to ounce should put a Striper on the end of your line! You can also cast mid-water crank baits that dive three to eight feet, don’t let them drag the bottom to much or you will lose your lure to a stump or log! Look for Cape Fear River Stripers around mud-flat edges, bulk-heads, creeks and shallow reed-grass edges on sunny warmer days.
Don’t count out a nice Speckled trout during the month of March! But what is a trout going to hit in March? This is when you need to know where to start; what lures to try? One of my favorites is the good’ole MirrOlure; it’s been around a long time and it is still catching fish, but its cold so work them SLOW! The patterns I prefer are the 17MR, 18MR, 52M and 52MR. Colors; MirrOlure makes a lot of different colors but here are some of my go too colors around Wrightsville Beach area waters. MirrOlure color codes: 11, 21, 26, 51, 704, CFPR, CH, EC, HP AND Capt. Jot Custom color (only found at Tex’s Tackle shop). Any local tackle shop can help you with these color codes. Depths to use these lures; 17MR use these lures in two to six feet of water. 18MR, 52M & 52MR use these lures in four to fifth-teen plus feet of water.
There is another kind of fishing I like to try in March but there is no saltwater involved. I like to hit the upper Northeast Cape Fear River and Sutton Lake the do a little Large-mouth bass fishing. If you want to try something different try some bass fishing, they are a lot of fun to catch on lighter tackle. Most of the time I use heavy sink worms from Berkley Powerbait in colors black, red shad and blue-flick. Work these worms very slowly off banks and stump beds. If you like to fly fish, try slow sinking small minnow patterns along the grass flats in Sutton Lake on cloudy or foggy days.
Tackle run down: PENN Battle II & Clash Spinning reels sizes2500, 3000 & 4000 for the Redfish, Large mouth Bass and Striped Bass. PENN Battalion rods in 6’6” & 7’ medium and med/hvy action; line Spiderwire Ultra-cast in ten and fifth-teen pound; Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon for my leaders in twenty to thirty pound.
Thanks for reading, get outside and I hope March fishing is good to you!
Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Fishing Tackle Elite Staff
Ranger Boats Pro Staff