Orange Beach, Al. March 2010 fishing forecast

    I cannot express enough how excited and anxious I am for springtime to arrive.  It has been a bitter winter, relatively speaking, that is.  You see, temperatures at the beach should never drop into the 20's.  It did that consistently this winter.  I was about to call the President for disaster relief at one point.  Anyway, March is without any doubt one of my twelve favorite months to fish on the Alabama Coast.  As the air temperature begins to rise, the water temperature follows.  This is the first step in getting our fish to be a little more active in shallower water rather than huddled up in their deep winter time holes. 

Speckled Trout in the Spring

   The speckled trout will begin to show up in 10 to 14 feet deep water in March.  Although they are beginning to transition toward shallower spots and warming grass beds in March, they will still remain close to some deep water.  Live shrimp is the ticket for springtime schoolies.  The trout in Orange Beach will be in large groups feeding together and cannot resist a nice live shrimp.  Also, March provides some excellent opportunity to catch trophy size specks on topwater plugs.  This is one of my top favorite methods for targeting big "gator trout".  Anyone looking for a chance at catching a trout worthy of hanging on the wall should consider March as a good time to book a charter. 

Sheepshead in Spawn

    During the month of March, sheepshead make their last inshore stop before heading to the Gulf.  Not only are there plenty of these strong, hard fighting fish around Orange Beach in March, they are big and hungry.  Although there is not a state mandated bag limit on sheepshead, the inshore guides in our area collectively decided a few years back to limit the amount of sheepshead that we harvest in March.  The reason behind this decision is that the sheepshead we catch at this time are mostly females packed full of eggs.  In recent years, the amount of fishing pressure on these fish has greatly increased.  There are just simply more anglers targeting this species nowadays. 

     Being that the weeks of spring break in March supply our area with an abundance of inshore fishing charters, there can easily be upwards of 30 inshore charters per day fishing for sheepshead.  If you multiply that by seven days in a week, and then by four weeks in the month, and then again by an average of four anglers per boat, then add up all of the snowbirds who bring their own boats to our area and kill countless amounts of sheepshead EVERYDAY, and add up all of the locals who also enjoy catching sheepshead, and add that to the total, not to mention the hordes of vacationers fishing from the rock jetties daily, it's not hard to see that someone needs to draw some lines. 

      I have no problem with any of the before mentioned, but as the amount of pregnant sheepshead harvested increases every year, it's only a matter of time before the species pays the price.  It is just common sense.  I am a fourth generation native of this area and love my home. I have seen just in my lifetime what conservation efforts as well as overfishing can do to different species of fish.  I would love to see all of our local species to thrive for generations to come.  We limit our sheepshead catch to three per angler.  It doesn't affect too much about what we do on my fishing charters anyway because I am usually engrossed with Speckled Trout fishing during that time frame .  Sheepshead are an extra bonus to a charter when we have time.