March Fishing Forecast
Posted on February 18th, 2011 by Kris Keprios
Re-tie your knots and check your drags before heading out to fish the Kissimmee Chain. Insane tournament stringers continue to pour in every weekend. One of which exceeded 40 lbs on five fish to win the event. Five 10 pound plus Bass were weighed in that day in the 25 boat tournament. There’s also reports of double digit fish being caught almost daily. This place is alive and well to say the least.
Look for most of the spawning activity to move from 1-2 ft range out to 3-4 ft deep as the water temp continues to rise. Look for pads, reeds, and kissimmee grass growing on hard sandy bottom areas. Cast, pitch, or flip Texas rigged soft plastics in these areas and fish slow to tease the spawners into biting. Make multiple casts as bedding fish definitely don’t always bite on the first cast. After catching a fish drop the Powerpole(s) and saturate the area as bedding fish tend to bunch up. Black/blue, junebug, and watermelon are always great colors to use. Swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits can sometimes trigger a reaction bite from a bedding Bass as well. Expect lots of buck Bass to be biting as they will be playing guardian to their newly hatched fry.
Try flipping mats with 1 oz – 1 1/2 oz Texas rigged craws or creature baits. Use at least 50 lb braid such as Spiderwire and a strong hook to bring a big fish up through the mat. Look for mats in or around spawning areas as both pre and postspawn Bass will use them as staging areas. They are especially productive during post cold front or high pressure conditions. Fish extremely slow as most of these mat fish are inactive for the most part and won’t usually go far to chase down a meal. Any type of matted vegetation can and at times does hold fish.
Submerged grassbeds such as eelgrass, hydrilla, and coontail will all hold fish. Usually, but not always, the healthiest or greenest grass will be best. Good rule of thumb: the greener the grass, the meaner the Bass. Spinnerbaits or bladed jigs slow rolled through the vegetation can result in some vicious strikes. Jerkbaits and rattlebaits ripped free from the grass can sometimes work when nothing else will. Use lure colors that best imitate a shiner or bream. Texas/Carolina rigged soft plastics are good to follow up with in these areas after locating fish with the faster moving lures.
Spawn is in full swing on just about all Winter Haven lakes. Water temperature has remained above 60 degree mark for some time now. The three clear lakes on the south chain are being hammered daily with a daisy chain of boats circling the lakes like buzzards over a carcass. Even with the onslaught of pressure the fishing is outstanding. Big Bass are being caught (and hopefully released) daily. Most are being caught by way of sight fishing for bedding Bass.
Most bedding fish have been taken from 4 ft of water or less. Fish on these lakes will spawn deeper than on typical Florida lakes especially as the water warms up as it normally does in March. I’ve seen fish on beds as deep as 10-12 ft. Use a quality fluorocarbon line such as 15-17 lb Berkley 100% fluorocarbon (which is virtually invisible underwater) tied to a Texas rigged lizard, craw, or creature bait to tempt these clear water spawners into biting. The line sinks which allows for less weight to be used ahead of the bait for a slower more tantalizing fall and better hook-up ratio. Look for eelgrass and hydrilla out from spawning areas as Bass will use the deeper grass as staging areas. Try shiner or bream colored deep diving crankbaits along grass edges or rattlebaits ripped through and over the grass. Texas/Carolina rigged soft plastics fished slowly through the grass can be productive as well.
In more stained water, target cattails, reeds, pads, and Kissimmee grass in 4ft of water or less with a flippin’ stick and 50 lb plus Spiderwire tied to a Texas rigged craw or creature bait. Black/blue, junebug, watermelon, or smoke colors all work well in these lakes. Jigs with pork or plastic trailers are great for big fish in the darker water but hang up a little more. Chartreuse and white spinnerbaits along with bladed jigs slow rolled through eelgrass and hydrilla can draw a reaction strike from fish spawning or cruising on shallow flats with limited emergent cover. Also try soft stickbaits along with big worms fished slowly along the bottom in these areas as well. Move to deeper submerged grassbeds to find staging fish. Rip a lipless crankbait through the grass or try slow rolling spinnerbaits and bladed jigs. Texas/Carolina rigged soft plastics are worth a shot also. Redbug, junebug, and blueberry are all good colors to try.
Central Florida is where you’ll find beautiful lakes, great bass fishing and Monte Goodman. Monte has made a career of doing what he enjoys and does best as a professional bass guide and successful tournament angler. Guiding and fishing competitively for the past 15 years has given him the experience, skill and knowledge it takes to be a great fisherman. Monte is also a vocal advocate of Florida’s habitat and conservation efforts, supports and practices “catch and release” himself and encourages others to do the same. A member of tournament trails such as FLW, FOMNTT, BFL, and B.A.S.S just to name a few. Credited with well over a hundred local tournament wins, was back to back Angler of the Year in the largest B.A.S.S. affiliated club in the world, and has won numerous Big Bass honors. Monte’s ability to adapt, his versatility and lengthy resume has earned him a reputation anyone would be proud of.