March is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you may catch. It is always a time of change here in the florida keys. Many different species will be migrating throughout our system, all of them desirable. It can be hard to choose what to fish for when so many species are present. I particularly like March because there are so many different options for success. If the wind is not right for sailfish, then usually it is great for mahi mahi which will most likely be only a few miles out from the typical sailfish haunts. If it is blowing too hard for the reef edge then one can easily run to the Gulf of Mexico for some fast action on one of the offshore wrecks catching cobia, Spanish mackerel, snappers, and sharks to name a few. One may also encounter permit or a huge king mackerel at this time of year. The usual groups of goliath grouper will also be fired up and ready to pin an unsuspecting angler to the gunwhale.
A first-timer is the most fun. I always start out by telling him to make sure he does not drop my thousand dollar rod and reel (this always gets his attention). Then I have him put a large dead bait on the bottom. Most of the time the guy never knows what hit him as a big goliath inhales the bait and then heads for the nearest cover. If the tide is wrong, that may be under the boat and around the corner. This always ends up bad for the poor guy as he is trying to look cool and composed in front of his family and at the same time he is doing his level best not to drop the thousand dollar rod and reel! Of course the drag will be locked up in the full strike position putting out around 40 pounds of drag. After a short but extremely intense fight, the giant grouper is floating alongside for photos. Too bad we probably wont take any because about this time a pack of cobias will “pop” up behind the goliath and all hell will break loose. This stuff is way too much fun!
The great news is that this is our plan b if the weather doesn’t cooperate; if it does then we will most likely be out on the hump beating the tunas and amberjacks away with a stick and looking for mahi mahi or high speed trolling for wahoo. If you still have not had enough, then we could stop on the reef edge and catch king mackerel up to 40 pounds and limits of yellowtail snappers. Of course, there are the few days where the wind is just right and the sailfish will be “tailing” on the color changes to the southwest. If you hit it just right you may have the best sail fishing day of your life. If this sounds over-the-top, it is just another day here in Islamorada Florida, the sport fishing capitol of the world!