April is upon us and spring fishing is about to really heat up, both literally and figuratively. The fishing over the past month was pretty good as we fished everywhere from Daytona Beach down to Titusville. Being able to guide clients throughout these areas allowed us to adapt to the ever changing weather conditions. While others struggled this past month with wind and moon patterns, we continued to boat grand slams (4 to be exact) and trophy catches. I did 16 charters in March and had clients landing lots of redfish, snook, trout, jack crevalle, and inshore grouper. April and May will bring more consistent weather patterns, more importantly light winds and rising water temps. While there is never a slow month throughout the year, the next two months are definitely some of my favorites.
The bite for GIANT Redfish is on. Several reas in the Mosquito Lagoon and North Indian River Lagoon have active schools of fish and each is holding a fair number of these trophy redfish that range from 15-45lbs. If the sun is out and the winds are calm you can usually find schools of them finning and tailing on the surface. If the weather is a little sour, they've been sticking tight to the bottom which can make for a tougher day. The rising water temps are breaking up the big winter schools of 5-10lb redfish where they can be found tailing and cruising around in water barely ankle deep. They are providing excellent targets for casting, but the low water levels and crystal clear water has them on high alert so precise casts are necessary to get them to eat. We've been using lots of DOA soft plastics, gold spoons, and suspending plugs for the best bite on artificials. A sure fire way to get a bite though has been a live free-lined shrimp. Shrimp and crab flies are still the main choice for fly anglers, with small baitfish patterns starting to work their way into the mix.
Snook fishing has still been steady but we're in the final stages of having good bites all day long. As we get into spring and summer the best bites are going to happen in the wee hours of the morning, late evening, or overnight. When we've got the right tide patterns we've landed a bunch of snook between 1-5lbs. We caught 3 more slot fish (28-32") in March and I broke off or straightened the hook on at least two that I estimated were over 15lbs, so the big ones are starting to get a little more aggressive. Plugs, plastics, and live shrimp are still baits of choice. Tarpon are getting a little more active, but by the time the water gets warm enough for them to get busy, another cold front blows through and pushes them back down. We're only a couple weeks away though from getting chances every day at 20-40lb tarpon.
Good numbers of trophy sized Spotted Sea Trout on the flats, but even more fish of all sizes in the surrounding deeper water. They've generally been the last thing we've looked for though lately. We're seeing some fish of tremendous sizes when sight fishing the flats, but nobody has been able to get a cast close enough with spooking them. We probably caught over 100 baby Grouper inshore over the past month, aggressive little guys! All the fish we landed are gag and black grouper between 5-23", with a couple break offs from much bigger fish. This is the best time of the year to catch a big Bluefish and fishing under the lights at night are yielding some big blues close to 10lbs. These are aggressive fish and are a ton of fun to catch on fly or light tackle. Jack crevalle are everywhere right now and are in a feeding frenzy. Jacks may be pound-for-pound the toughest fighting fish found inshore and will put a serious bend in your rod. Average jack has been from 2-10lbs and it hasn't mattered what you threw to them, they'll eat it.
April and May are great months to be fishing our local inshore waters. I've got 11 charters scheduled so far for April, with lots of good openings still available. I'll also be fishing a couple days in Jacksonville for the IFA Redfish Tour. I'd love the opportunity to be your guide for the day, or even a couple days this month, so give me a call if I can help. Look forward to fishing with you soon, 386-212-4931.
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