I believe the worst of the winds are left behind in April. Just about every species in our area are hungry and ready to bite. If you fish offshore or inshore this is the time to get out and fish. With the weather stabilizing, the fish are now starting to get into their spring/summer patterns.
Offshore species like: kingfish, cobia, grouper, spanish mackerel, grunts and snappers are abundant. When bottom fishing for grouper, put out a free lined live bait for the hard hitting, line screaming kingfish or keep an eye out for the curious cobia. I like to use a 6000 series reel with 30 lb braid line and about 3-6 foot leader. For kingfish you might want to use a steel leader or stinger rig. You can also troll with a diving plug or a spoon. Try not to have your drag too tight, these fish will hit hard and test your drag.
Inshore, the sea trout can be caught in the 3 - 6 foot grass areas and around the rocks off the channel. Use lighter tackle like 10 lb test with a 1/4 oz jig and either a jerk bait or gulp shrimp. I also like to use a rapala twitch rap ( subsurface bait ) or a top water lure.
Redfish can be caught around structure. Look for the mullet or any movement in the water. Artificial baits, fresh cut bait or live shrimp should produce a bite once you find them. Bluefish and spanish mackerel are pretty thick around the rock piles. Using chum will bring them in. I like to use just a 1/4 oz jig with a zoom jerk bait for them. Work the lure very fast or with erratic jigging up and down. If you get a hit and miss, keep working the bait or they will move out. They like to wound their prey, then come back for the kill.
We have been getting some nice sharks on recent trips. With the water warming, I expect to see even more. Use heavy tackle and with out a doubt, a steel leader. I like to chum first then use some kind of fresh cut bait that they can’t resist.
Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family! I’m always looking for reports and pictures.
Capt. Joel Gant operates Fishdaddy Charters out of Hernando Beach, he knows the local waters like the back of his hand, family friendly and works both inshore and offshore trips.
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