The arrival of the month of March is something that a lot of local area anglers eagerly anticipate during the doldrums of winter. However, it’s awaited arrival has been a little lackluster, mainly due to the mild days during the months of January and February that fishermen have been really enjoying. The warmer days and ever warming water temperatures have left March with a little to be desired as we now seem to be on a little bit of a plateau and conditions are becoming more seasonal. Water temperatures are hovering in the upper fifties and lower sixties depending on location and while this month normally produces some good warming for area waters, that trend may subside until later in the month.
As far as the fishing goes, there’s still plenty out there to catch or at least attempt to catch. Inshore fishing has been the main topic as the offshore conditions have not been all that pleasurable for boaters and this week doesn’t look all that different. Rest assured when the offshore boats get out and report, we’ll be sure to cover it.
The sea mullet continue to be a good species to target and are being caught by both those with access to boats or those fishing from the surf. Areas in the lower Cape Fear River have been producing very well for those using double dropper rigs with fresh cut shrimp and artificial fish bites. Water depths in twenty to twenty five feet of water are prime spots to anchor up near the mouth of the river. If you’ve never fished the lower Cape Fear, make sure to take someone with you who’s familiar with the local waters or look for the other boats anchored in the vicinity. The river is no place to go in blind if you are unfamiliar with the area. Anglers are also finding some decent fishing for mullet from the surf areas of both the Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches. The same baits are working and fishing the deeper sloughs and holes along the beach are good spots to try. As always, scouting the area you plan to fish during low tide is a good way to find those secret fishing holes when the water is higher.
The red drum and speckled trout continue to be reported in fairly good numbers in the creeks and channels, with red drum and black drum also holed up around the area docks. Soft and scented artificial baits are working good but live mud minnows on a Carolina Rig are hard to beat this time of year. The fish are moving a little more but if fishing artificial baits, a slower retrieve and presentation is still needed due to the cooler waters. Cut bait and shrimp will also work for the red and black drum.
If fishing still isn’t on your to do list, then maybe experiencing an outdoor expo will get you motivated. The Cape Fear Wildlife Expo is slated for March 17-19 at the Crown Complex Arena in Fayetteville, NC. Hunting and fishing exhibitors as well as wildlife art, boats, truck RV’s, fly fishing demos, camping and archery products and much more. Visit www.capefearwildlifeexpo.com for advanced tickets and additional information.