This is the time of year when many offshore anglers start watching the SST Charts (SST=Sea Surface Temp). The data for these charts are obtained through satellites and are computed generated based on that data. The most detailed ones usually carry a fee to view them but many sites offer a free version.
Why SST you ask? Well this time of year offshore fishing is all about temperature. It has little to do with the daily air temps, they haven’t had much chance to effect the water yet. Rather its warm waters of the gulf stream. they start to move closer to shore this time of year and the winds have a tendency to break off or stretch “fingers” and “fists” of warm warm even closer.
Everyone knows that many of the migratory pelagic fish we cherish prefer warm water. But the key here isn’t just finding warm water but finding the Temperature break. That is the place where two bodies of water with slightly different temperatures meet. 1 1/2 to 2 degrees is all it takes. Fish will often “stack” up at these breaks, even with no significant bottom structure beneath them.
So studying the charts, finding a good temp. break and heading for it while watching the surface and the sonar is the strategy of many this time of year. Kings like 66- 68 degree water so look for a temp break in that range, motor to it, look for bait and there you are almost sure to find kings. Troll in a zig zag pattern across the break.
Tuna likely slightly warmer water so look for the 70 - 72 degree breaks.
Here’s some examples of charts & the sites they came from:
A friend of mine, Alan and I decided to give one of the creeks on the New River a try today. I met him in Sneads Ferry first thing this morning dressed in jeans and T-shirt ready to fish - gotta love the weather for early March!
We headed out looking for some specks and whatever else we could roust up. We started at a spot Alan had worked a few weeks ago with good success. But today there was a lot of mud flowing out from the feeder creeks due to the storm that rolled through here last night. I did manage to get the skunk off the boat pretty quick and boated a puppy drum. We released him and thought, wow this is going to be good. Pretty soon the tide began to drop and the mud was everywhere. Never caught another puppy all day.
So we headed to a different spot looking for cleaner water. We found it just down the creek and we bagan and began to work some structure. We boated 5 flounder in the first 15 minutes (only one was big enough to keep). Then the bite just died. I mean nothing for the next hour. So we moved spots and proceed to catch a few more and lost a couple too. Again the bite died and we moved. This time changing creeks and trying several spots. No luck.
We never did get any specks to complete a slam but we ended up catching 10 flounder and a drum and had a real enjoyable day on the water!