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Fishing Lines: Be patient - grouper are coming

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By Capt. Dennis Voyles

I remember an old saying that March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Well that is certainly true for this March so far. High winds and bitter cold (for Florida) dominated much of the first half of March, so I am expecting very mild temps to escort the second half of this month out like a lamb.

March 15 ends the closed season for grouper fishing and once again the large vessels will roll into town to pursue offshore species. For the next thirty days there should be some good grouper fishing relatively close to shore. Often as soon as the sheepshead get going the grouper will move in close to take advantage of the large bait pods arriving in the near shore waters. The grouper limits have not changed so far this year, but next year's changes will likely be drastic. Next month our commissioners are supposed to decide on the limits and closed seasons for the future.

A few (very few) mackerel have shown up near shore but most are undersize and scattered. But it is still a positive sign of spring. No reports of any Kings to date, and I wouldn't expect any until at least the full moon on the twenty first.

Trout fishing remains slow as I would expect following another cold front. Also the grass on the flats has not developed much to date, keeping the trout in very deep and/or in the winter pattern.

Redfish action is moderate but many of our reds to date are on the smaller side. The numbers are fairly good, its just that the majority of them are sub-legal.

Several tournaments are slated for the next few weeks so bring plenty of patience if you plan to launch your boat in Cedar Key.