By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
One of the best months of the year, April means a thawing for the people up north and a prelude to summer for everyone Tampa Bay southward. The people who took their time off during “winter” (pause for laughter) are dusting off their rods and reels and staring at their kayaks. We are well into “spring” in most of the state but the Panhandle and NE Florida guys are just getting ramped up. This should be one great month to watch for fishing reports. What does it look like around the state? It is going to be active, that’s what everyone is saying. April is one great month to fish anywhere in this state.
The Tampa Bay region-
April is the Month Of The Baitfish. “Tens of thousands of tons of baitfish” of different species and sizes flow in and out of the local passes. After months of minimal baitfish occupation of local waters, an abundance exists. Because of this situation, special opportunities arise. Nearly every species that swims these waters will be around in April. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalle, ladyfish, king mackerel, cobia, pompano and flounder will be available. Sounds easy? It’s easier than doing your taxes! Particularly when you realize that what you really need to know is “follow the birds”. Hovering and diving birds isolate areas of feeding fish. Quickly move to the areas you see this activity and cast in to the fray.
This month is also one of the best redfishing months of the year. Get against the mangoves at higher tides to catch reds. Speckled trout action will remain strong but will taper off in subsequent months. Target the “low light” times of day for bigger speckled trout.
April is a month where you could get into just about anything in Tampa Bay.
In the Southwest “Suncoast” area
Spotted seatrout, bluefish and Spanish mackerel should continue to hit jigs over the deep grass along the east and west sides of Sarasota Bay. Night snook action is expected to be good around lighted docks — especially for fly fishers. We anticipate redfish activity to increase as the water warms — particularly around Buttonwood Harbor. In fresh water, bluegill, speckled perch, shellcracker and channel catfish will be the main targets on Lake Manatee and the Manatee River.
The East coast of Florida,
Get out on the flats earlier or later in the day. Winds tend to pick up mid-afternoon and then die down later in the day. Snook will begin to show more and more north of the Ft. Pierce area. Redfish and trout will be found on the grass flats and laying in wait under in sand holes and transition areas waiting for baitfish passing by. Concentrate on points, bends, and small coves. These predators will be much more active now and will be snatching up any morsel coming near. Look for topwater action to pick up and then subsurface soft plastics to work as the sun gets higher and the topwater action slows. Flounder has not been as abundant as last year but can be found on sandy or muddy ledges or bottoms that are near eddies that contain easily accessible bait. Look for sheepshead in large sand holes, on sand ledges or near pier pylons.
In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway on the Wakulla River: http://www.tnthideaway.com/ . If you are going to be in Panama City, stop in and see Brad and his staff at Sunjammers: http://sunjammers.com/ . April is primetime in the Panhandle. The cold lets up and the fish are happy up here.
In Northeast Florida:
We should see some of the best action of the year this month. Redfish, trout, flounder all reliable targets. Sheepshead will remain an option as well.
In the greater South Florida area:
Things will remain fantastically strong in the South Florida region. The Everglades to the Keys, the opportunities exist for nearly everything that swims in the Atlantic or Gulf waters. Great action will be had for the deepwater guys and gals who want to try their hand at some really big offshore species. The inshore game only gets better with redfish, trout, snook and tarpon lighting it up in the shallows.
The tip of the month:
The pinfish are back. Pufferfish are also tough on soft plastic baits. What do you do when you are losing plastics on every cast? Switch to hardware. Hard baits like Mirrolures and Aqua Dream spoons hold up to the worst abuse, and eliminate time changing baits “with the tail ripped off.” Rig up an extra rod with some hardware, just in case you need some help surviving The Pinfish Factor.
Need help learning how to kayak fish? Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills!
Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there!
Neil Taylor, www.capmel.com site administrator