Blowin’ in the March Winds
W hen my son was young, I sometimes tried to be creative in my single parenting, just to keep things interesting for him. Quite often when he would make some little kid request I could not comply with, I would tell him the “in the immortal words of that great philosopher, Mic Jagger—‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find you get what you need.’”
March is like that for fishermen on the Texas coast. Spring is close enough that we can see it, although the feel and smell are not quite here. What we want is to catch warm water species.
Although some trout, reds, and flounders will be around for inshore anglers, we are much more likely to encounter black drum, croaker, sand trout, and possibly sheepshead. Depending on the specific conditions the year offers, we should maybe be happy with those options.
In years gone by, when offshore fishing was my passion, my group was often accused of “jumping the gun”—that is, trying to get our season started before momma nature said it was time. The rush to get the first billfish of the season, or the first king mackerel would sometimes trigger trips before the weather got really “right.”
Fortunately for blue water anglers, in the deep water out around and beyond the 100 fathom curve, conditions don’t really change that much with the seasons—only the potential comfort of the fishermen. When sea conditions allow fishing, tuna and billfish can usually be found somewhere, and a very good winter wahoo fishery exists on and around the Flower Gardens system.
King mackerel—especially the older, larger fish, do not always migrate in winter, and offshore spots like Stetson Rock and the Claypile Bank can be covered up with them.
Bottom species such as snapper and grouper live where conditions rarely change, and if you can fish, there will be fish to be caught. Closer to shore, bluefish and Spanish mackerel are often very plentiful, and the bag limit is very generous for Spanish, non-existent for blues.
For fishing from smaller boats, close bottom formations and oil production platforms offer shelter to “gulf” trout and state water snapper, as well as sometimes being visited by kings.
When I surf fished to an obsession, I caught bull reds or saw them caught in the surf in every month of the year, although late summer and fall were the peak months.
On warm days, an occasional bull shark will take a bit meant for reds, but when you hook a big jack crevalle, warm weather will not be far behind.
On one occasion after I had given my young son the rock and roll version of a proper attitude, he asked, “Dad, did Mr. Jagger (I raised the boy to be polite to his elders) say any other real smart things?”
“Well,” I had to reply after some thought, He did share the feelings of that other sage of song—Otis Redding—in saying you can’t get no satisfaction!”
At least, you won’t if you don’t get out and fish!
THE BANK BITE
Location: Deep water off jetties, rock groins and piers.
Species: Black drum, pan fish, and an occasional red, trout or flounder.
Bait: Live bait will be hard to come by, unless you catch your own mud minnows, so use fresh dead shrimp, baitfish, or squid.
Best Time: When you can go is good, but watch the tides.
Email Mike Holmes at ContactUs@fishgame.com