After a chilly start to 2018 in January, the weather has been unseasonably warm with record-breaking temperatures in February. March was pretty typical though water temps were above average. April should offer incredible fishing for a variety of species.
Big Pass and New Pass will be alive with fish migrating in and out of the bay this month. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, and ladyfish should be plentiful. Pompano prefer a small white or chartreuse jig bounced along the bottom while the mackerel are often found higher in the water column or breaking on the surface. There is nothing more exciting than casting a surface plug on light tackle or a fly into a feeding frenzy!
Action on the deep flats will be very good for speckled trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish. The best flats to fish will be from Siesta Drive north to Long Bar. Flats that are near both passes will be especially productive. A ¼ ounce Bass Assassin Sea Shad is a great lure to prospect with; a lot of water can be covered and just about every species will hit it. Plugs work very well when surface activity is seen, they also are a great lure to troll slowly and locate schools of fish. Silver and gold spoons are another good choice. Live bait is always a great choice, too. A live shrimp free lined or fished under a noisy float is a deadly technique.
The area between Siesta Drive and Blackburn Point will be good for snook as they migrate out towards the beach to spawn. Any point, oyster bar, dock, or creek mouth that drops off into deeper water is a likely spot to try. High, outgoing tides are best. Plugs cover a lot of water and result in vicious strikes while jigs require more patience but will fool more redfish along with snook. Don’t be surprised when a big jack crevelle or trout inhales an offering meant for a snook or red.
This has been a good season for sheepshead and while it is past its peak there should still be plenty of these tasty saltwater panfish around. Docks, seawalls, and bridges near passes will hold sheepies. A live shrimp fished on the bottom will fool them, along with snapper, grouper, and flounder.
Surf fishing should be very good for Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, flounder, pompano, and more. Live or frozen shrimp fished near the bottom with a little weight works well. Spoons, plugs, and jigs will also catch plenty of fish, too.
April is a great month for anglers with a small boat and not a lot of experience to catch big fish. The beaches and inshore artificial reefs will be thick with king and Spanish mackerel, along with false albacore and the occasional cobia. Trolling spoons is very easy and deadly on all species. Sight casting to schools of breaking fish is fantastic sport using spinning or fly tackle.