When February wraps up, it’s time for the March of the Mahi! Find out why dolphin should be in your sights offshore this spring, and learn about their habits and migrations from recent tagging studies. The action starts in the Florida Keys and South Florida, and moves north as warm currents bring sargassum and forage fish into the Gulf of Mexico and on up the Atlantic coast. And, learn the surprising story of the fastest, growing, farthest-traveling mahi ever tagged. Our March issue is jam-packed with surprises, including a three-part feature, “The Next Level,” highlighting some unexpected solutions to unexpected problems—like how to sail your boat with a kite, or rocket down a whitewater rapid in your kayak (and you thought there were no whitewater rivers in Florida!).
Along inlets and passes all around the state, flounder are literally at your feet. Find out special tactics for catching the great-eating flatfish; Managing Editor David Conway, a lifelong flounder fanatic, meets up with a crew of local experts at Sebastian Inlet to discuss shore and boat tactics for this month’s FS Seminar: Inshore. If the powerful, elusive snook are more your speed, find out how they’re spreading north in Florida, in “Spring Break for Snook,” by David Brown; the article includes inside tips on finding snook in Crystal River, but the tactics work in other riverine and canal areas where snook hole up during cool weather.
Wahoo trolling gets the spotlight in this month’s “Tropical Sportsman” department: Find out how guys have been catching the big tiger-striped speedsters over in The Bahamas. High-speed tactics certainly work, but traditional natural-bait spreads are producing some whoppers, too, out of Bimini and other ports. In the Offshore Seminar, Florida Keys Field Editor Al Herum reveals a can’t-miss game plan for offshore drift-fishing in strong current. Learn a neat little secret for attaching weight to your lines.
State and national news sources have been twisting and writhing with hyperbole over Florida’s great Python Challenge of 2013. We take a decidedly more ground-level approach to reporting on the invasive serpents, which have been around for a lot longer than many people realize and may not be quite as devastating as some think. Veteran conservation reporter Doug Kelly digs into the ecology of the Florida Everglades and the story behind the Burmese python and other non-native constrictors.
Crappie are among the most popular freshwater targets in March, and for good reason—these tasty panfish school up in shallow water as they spawn. Learn jigging tactics from a crappie expect in the FS Seminar: Fresh Water, written this month by our Northeast Field Editor Jim Sutton. Also in the freshwater scene, Ed Mashburn takes us on a paddle tour of three Northwest Florida coastal streams not far from Tallahassee. Big bass, bream and even saltwater favorites such as redfish and trout are caught on these beautiful little “Capital Runs.”
For legions of Florida anglers, king mackerel are among the most important fish—seasonally abundant along all our coasts, relatively easy to hook, thrilling to reel in, and not bad on the grill or smoker. So when federal catch estimates and local experts report declines, Florida Sportsman is quick to pick up on the story. Our research has only just begun—this month, in “On the Conservation Front,” we lay out the extent of the problem, and explain how fisheries managers are beginning to address the reported dip in kingfish numbers. Also, in Karl Wickstrom’s “Openers” column, learn about a little-known but vitally important victory protecting Tampa Bay marine life.