APRIL USUALLY BEGINS our coastal spring, with warm enough days for more comfortable, as well as more productive fishing.
Of course, the more time we can spend fishing, generally the better the catches, so as the days get longer and more pleasant, so does the fishing action.
The rains that began the year 2019 should ease up and let us have clearer waters to spend our time “working.” On this subject, when coastal rivers run high and muddy, the water they empty into will also be high and muddy, so looking for less murky water becomes a top priority.
In bay or surf, fish feeding action can sometimes be spotted with surface action, bait skipping out of the water, and birds actively working. However,because of the time of year, it might be best not to look for these signs exclusively.
Probably a better technique would be to try areas that have held fish in the past due to water conditions and presence of bait, even if this means mostly fishing “blind.” The worst that can happen is we get a pleasant boat ride or some quiet beach time.
Offshore action should come alive sooner, at least for bottom feeding species. Snapper regulations are still nothing to call all your friends about. Yet, depending on the spot and water depth, good catches of edible ad sporting species such as Gulf trout, grouper of various sizes and maybe “legal” lane snapper might be expected.
On a calm sunny day, bluefish might be mixed with Spanish mackerel for surface action. In deep waters far from shore, tuna, wahoo, and even a few billfish may be found by those with the means and experience to hunt them out.
April is NOT a month that most will put at the top of their list for fishing enjoyment. However, it IS often the beginning of the good times to come.
This is a time to put your tackle to work to get it ready for more serious action in the near future. In this realm fall rods, reels, live wells, gaffs, electronics, and BOATS that all need to be thoroughly vetted to be ready for hotter fishing times to come.
Location: Spring is nearly here, so inshore waters should be warm enough for good and comfortable fishing for many species. Waders will probably still be needed even in most spots over knee deep—especially if a fisherman stays in such spots for prolonged periods. Bank, pier and “rock” fishing from drier perches are still easier on our bodies.
Species: Speckled trout and reds will top the list, along with flounder and pan fish such as croakers and sand trout. Offshore is different, Species holding to the protection of deep water during cold weather don’t have to move far to be more available. Fishing for many of these species never really stopped during winter (meaning bottom fish such as groupers and snappers in waters where they are legal now).
Bait: Inshore, shrimp and squid can be found frozen, and sometimes now as “fresh dead” offerings. Live shrimp and baitfish are usually good when they can be had. As in other months, cut bait works when nothing else is available.
Best Time: Night fishing can be good any time of the year. We will now be seeing warmer, more productive daytime fishing. Best times still may be early and late, though.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]