Well, it’s March, which means it’s time to march out and start looking for cobia. But, before you get all Christmas Eve, kid in a candy store excited I should tell you that the run has started and so far, it’s nothing to write home about. I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, it hasn’t been all bad. There have some some pretty decent catches and a few pretty nice fish caught too. There just hasn’t been a whole bunch of consistency. One day there’s a whole bunch of rays and very few fish. Next day, there’s only a few rays but more fish per ray. Day after that, there’s no rays and a few free-swimmers. You get my drift??
If I had to guess, the cobia fishing will likely remain sporadic into March. The water inshore has remained on the warm side as is the water offshore. With the temperatures higher than normal, there’s no temperature gradient making the cobia highway. In years past, there’s been a pathway of water in the 67-70 degree range that was generally not that wide. This meant that the migrating fish were funneled into a narrow highway of water. This year the temp differential is negligible, causing the fish to be more widely scattered out.
If you do decide to go looking for cobia, be prepared to spend some time and cover a bit of ocean. The first thing to look for is where the water reaches 68 degrees. If there’s no defined temperature break or weed edge, the next thing I tend to look for is the bait. Without an edge, the rays will sometimes gravitate to the areas holding sardines, greenies or pogies. From there, it’s going to be a matter of spending the time and fuel to find the fish. As far as bait goes, most people will cast a variety of jigs tipped with squid. Also, keep a few good live baits ready for those fish who turn their nose up to the jigs.
The higher than normal temperatures negatively affecting the cobia fishing can be a blessing for those interested in dolphin. Although February is a little early in the year, there were signs of an early dolphin run. Although, much like the cobia, the phins were somewhat sporadic. Nevertheless, there were some pretty decent catches.
If last month is any indication, March could be a continuation of the early dolphin run. Also like the cobia, the dolphin fishing may rely on a current edge, temperature break or weedline. If you can find one or a combination of the aforementioned you will probably find some dolphin. Ballyhoo and ballyhoo/lure combos will be the bait of choice, but strip baits could work well if the smaller schoolies show up.
The only kingfish action in February was north of us off Daytona or south of us out of Sebastian. With a little luck, we will see springtime run and some fish will show up. Otherwise, the live bait fishing could remain slow all month.
If you want to go bottom fishing, the amberjack should be a pretty good bet. Last month, they were biting good and they should continue into the next couple months as they congregate to spawn. Big live baits will be the best bait, but jigs may work if there’s not too many barracuda.
So, March on out there and make something happen..
See ya on he pond!!