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Where to Fish in March

DATE POSTED:February 13, 2020

The Salt Water Sportsman editors list the top two locations to fish in March for some of the most popular species, plus notes about each fish-location pairing.

Pacific Blue Marlin

Pacific blue marlin
Pacific blue marlin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: New Zealand

Second choice: Panama

In Kiwi waters, blue marlin season peaks right about now, with a high percentage of fish in the 300- to 400-pound class foraging along the famous stretch from the Bay Islands to North Cape. On Panama’s left coast, Pacific blues steadily decrease in numbers this time of year, but enough still remain on the prowl to make targeting them worthwhile.

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Brazil

Second choice: Bahamas

Waters off Canavieiras, Brazil, experience a seasonal transition this month as boats raise fewer but larger blues. Now is a great time to look for a possible grander and tangle with fish exceeding 700 pounds. In the Bahamas, the start of blue marlin season is a few weeks away, but seasoned captains know to start trolling the edge of the Gulf Stream, near Bimini, for early arrivals.

Black Marlin

Black marlin
Black marlin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Australia

Second choice: Panama

In Costa Rican waters, blacks start showing up at the beginning of the year and, though they peak over the next two months, March usually already offers dependable action. Expect the offshore seamounts to be among the hotspots. Along Panama’s Pacific coast, March still produces decent catches of quality specimens of 300 pounds or better, but the fishing is likely to dwindle as April approaches.

White Marlin

White marlin
White marlin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Brazil

Second choice: Mexico

If it’s oversize white marlin you want, Vitoria, Brazil, is just the place for you. The bite in March is usually solid and closer to shore, with most catches recorded along the first drop, 18 miles out. Meanwhile, in Mexico’s Yucatan, whites become increasingly prevalent with the seasonal migration in full force and bait schools luring them to stage off Isla Mujeres.

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish
Atlantic sailfish (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: Florida

The sailfish spring fling really gets going in the Yucatan Channel this month as enough hungry sails arrive by March to ensure multiple hookups for experienced crews. Isla Mujeres and Cancun offer better prospects, but Cozumel produces too. Spring is also synonymous with hot sailfishing in South Florida waters, and many fish will still be chasing ballyhoo in the shallows.

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfish (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Guatemala

Second choice: Costa Rica

In Guatemala, the game-boat fleets out of Iztapa and neighboring Puerto Quetzal stay busy battling crazy numbers of sails, and flying equally impressive numbers of release flags on the way back to port. Their Costa Rican counterparts are not far behind as the hot bite this month quickly spreads northward from Golfito and Quepos to Los Sueños and Carrillo.

Striped Marlin

Striped marlin
Striped marlin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: New Zealand

Spring stripes are aggressive and plentiful in Cabo San Lucas, where Santa Maria and San Lucas canyons, and the banks of San Jaime and Golden Gate offer excellent chances this month. In New Zealand, peak season for striped marlin begins, and Kiwi waters, especially those surrounding the Bay Islands, are famous for producing huge specimens, some of which reach 400 pounds.


Wahoo (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Cayman Islands

Venice, Louisiana, may be better known for its tuna fishing, but wahoo also show up there in good numbers, and action this month often yields half a dozen 40- to 60-pounders for boats that tailor their tactics to target the striped torpedoes. The Cayman Islands is a great alternative as the fish aggregate around nearby seamounts.

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin tuna (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: North Carolina

Second choice: Louisiana

Schools of 40- to 60-pound yellowfins play hide-and-seek off North Carolina’s Outer Banks this month, with the sport-fishing fleets out of Hatteras and Oregon Inlet hot on their trail. The tuna bite off Venice, Louisiana, remains consistent, with some truly big specimens—weighing 150 pounds or better—still drawing boats to the famous Midnight Lump and other underwater structure.

Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin tuna
Blackfin tuna (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Louisiana

Various humps off the Atlantic coast of the middle and lower Florida Keys hold lots of blackfins in springtime. Fishing weighted liveys middepth helps avoid the footballs and key on the trophy fish. Shrimp boats anchored in the Gulf of Mexico, especially off Louisiana and Florida shores, continue to attract hungry blackfins. Steady chumming is the ticket to success.


Bonefish (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Bahamas

Second choice: Mexico

As winter releases its grip on the weather, bonefishing on the Bahamas flats heats up along with water temperatures. Strong winds are often an issue in March, so look for tailers in protected coves and the lee side of islands. In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, bones are abundant and active in the southern bays of Ascension, Espiritu Santo and Chetumal this month.


Snook (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Costa Rica

Average temperatures are climbing steadily in Florida, and snook start to move out of their wintering grounds. Expect to find more linesiders in shallow bays, increasingly closer to open water. In Costa Rica, big fish stack up inside the mouths of coastal rivers and along the adjacent beaches, from Quepos south to the Panama border.


Tarpon (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Puerto Rico

As Florida waters warm up, more tarpon show up in the Everglades and various lower Keys basins. With fewer tarpon hunters to compete with, sight-fishing for early arrivals can be productive when conditions allow. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, the lagoons of San Jose and Torrecilla hold a lot of active tarpon ranging from 10 to over 100 pounds this time of year.


Permit (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Belize

Second choice: Florida

Southern Belize shallows provide fly- and light-tackle anglers good odds of scoring, with plenty of fish cruising and tailing along the extensive grass flats and shoals. In Florida, many permit gravitate toward the wrecks, but some remain on the flats, widespread from Miami’s Biscayne Bay through the Marquesas, west of Key West.

Red Drum

Red Drum
Red Drum (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Texas

Schools of bull reds continue to seek food and shelter around outer islands and shoals in southeast Louisiana’s Breton and Chandeleur sounds. Also expect slot-size fish to patrol bayous and coastal creeks, looking primarily for shrimp and crabs. In Texas, large schools of redfish wander throughout Laguna Madre, Matagorda and other grassy bays. Try topwaters or buzzbaits to pinpoint their whereabouts.

Striped Bass

Striped bass
Striped bass (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: California

Second choice: Maryland

San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento Delta offer reliable striper fishing around various reefs and other sunken structure. Both trolling and jigging pay off once fish are located with electronics. Chesapeake Bay’s bountiful forage and vast system of creeks, mudflats and marshes make it a striper stronghold and a good springtime option.


Swordfish (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

As expected, South Florida remains broadbill central, with consistent action extending from Palm Beach through the Keys. However, high winds this time of year could make swordfishing risky for small boats. In Cabo San Lucas, the local sport-fishing fleets enjoy an influx of swords this month, and many will be finning right on the surface.

King Mackerel

King mackerel
King mackerel (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Florida

Second choice: North Carolina

This could be the year when another 90-pounder is boated in Florida waters, especially west of Key West, where the smoker king action continues to please anglers who crave blazing runs and screaming drags. North Carolina’s fishery still offers decent chances, even though the bite is past its prime.


Seatrout (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Florida

This is a top month for speckled trout fishing in Louisiana, where sheltered coves and mudflats, especially those flecked with oyster bars, continue to harbor some double-digit-weight trophies. In the Sunshine State, some of the largest trout of the year attempt to ambush prey in really shallow water, often less than 18 inches deep, during early-morning hours.


Dolphin (Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez/)

First choice: Panama

Second choice: Mexico

If you’re hellbent on catching dolphin this month, Panama’s Pacific coast offers the best odds. Trolling a small bonito around the debris that gathers along the color change is a surefire way to tangle with a big bull. Mexico’s west coast is another excellent option, and even anglers fishing from pangas will get in on the action.