March Already?

Seems that March is upon us very suddenly this year. When I was a kid a had an old hand-me-down pocket watch. I cannot remember where I got it, but it looked pretty cool with that Mack truck fob hanging from my pocket. Or so I thought. Trouble with the danged thing was it gained a couple hours every day, if I remembered to keep it wound. Cool can have a way of trumping function – to an eight-year-old, anyway. Could it be that March’s clock has been gaining time?

March marks the beginning of busy season on the bays. School-age kids will be on Spring Break and champing at the bit for parents to take them to the coast. And there couldn’t be a better reason. This traditionally windy month will be full of weather surprises but when you get the fishing itch…

Trophy trout anglers will be among the throng seeking fishing excitement, trying for that winter-fat fish to top their personal best stats before prolonged warm water brings new patterns to the program. Even though January and February get more hype as trophy months, my own experience gives the nod to the windy month.

Fishing conditions will be toughest of the colder months, with gales from both north and south, but the general warming trend in water temperature is what does the trick. Fish metabolism increases in concert with water temps which means they’re going to eat more often and for longer periods. Astute anglers spend as much time locating bait, on average, as they do pitching hopeful casts. Thank goodness our sharp-eyed avian friends will be there to help.

Gulls and pelicans make their living preying on available bait species every bit as much as the gamefish we seek. I’ve had days when a lonely osprey hovering and swooping for a finger mullet along a windward shoreline was about the only sign of life I could use to solve the puzzle. Keep this in mind when it seems the fish gods have forsaken you.

Back to the topic of weather surprises, March is no time for happy-go-lucky boating. Balmy mornings can give way to raging fronts sweeping to the coast in the blink of an eye. Especially with youngsters aboard, boaters are advised to keep a close eye on the marine weather forecast. Yes, today’s forecasts beat the norm of a decade ago, hands down, but never underestimate an approaching weather system. Too often, what has been predicted to arrive late-afternoon becomes reality at lunch time.

CCA Texas banquet season hits full stride this month. Making plans to attend one with fishing friends and families always makes for a fun evening. These fundraiser events are the mainstream of the cash flow that allows CCA to continue the legacy of conservation projects to enhance habitat and fisheries. CCA also leads the way in coastal angling advocacy – in Austin and Washington D.C. – fighting every day to enable the passage of legislation that insures we and future generations will be able to enjoy this great pastime.

Keep an eye on the weather and take a youngster fishing!