As the sun climbs higher and the days grow longer, the waters of west central Florida have warmed to the upper 70s, signaling a resurgence of activity among the region’s prized game fish. Cold fronts have remained a persistent feature, injecting variability into the fishing equation. However, their spacing has allowed for a gradual rise in water temperatures, now hovering comfortably in the 70s. This subtle but significant change has set the stage for a flurry of activity among our targeted species.

March and April herald the migration of snook from their deep, temperature-stable hideouts to shallower waters, foreshadowing their summer haunts. This transition has presented ample opportunities for anglers as these prized gamefish venture closer to the shorelines and estuaries. Whether prowling the mangrove edges or lurking around structure, snook have been receptive to well-placed presentations. The use of large Enrico Puglisi flies is a favored tactic for targeting snook, especially in the spring.  Additionally, large soft plastics are a formidable option, especially on cloudy or windy days.

Redfish have proven to be particularly showing a keen appetite for offerings imitating shrimp, especially around the full moons. During new and full moon phases, we experience negative low tides during the winter and into the spring. These extreme low tides compel redfish to seek refuge in deeper waters, where they congregate in anticipation of the changing tide.As the water levels drop, redfish may become more elusive, staging in deeper channels, holes, and along drop-offs. Morning low tides provide the best opportunity to sight fish and as the water floods into shallower areas, redfish may become more active, and astute anglers may catch them tailing as they feed along the edges of flats and grassy areas.

The full moon in March signaled the commencement of the spotted seatrout spawning season, marking a significant event in the angling calendar. While the peak of the spawn has passed, residual activity continues to provide opportunities for eager anglers. Focusing on grassy flats, sandy drop-offs, and channels has proven effective in locating schools of speckled trout. Clouser minnows are a top choice among fly enthusiasts, while soft plastic jerk baits rigged on quarter or eighth ounce jig heads have proven irresistible for light tackle anglers.