The April Fishing report for the Keys

March 17, 2016 by Matt Bellinger

Trip Info

The Catch
Snapper (Mangrove)
Shark (Blacktip)
Snapper (Mutton)

  April is the month where you’ll just have to wait and see what will happen with the weather and coming off one of the strangest Winters that we’ve had in years its anybody’s guess.  March came roaring in with 20-30 mph winds then settled down about mid month, Im hoping for light Easterly breezes and warm nights to get our much anticipated Tarpon & Dolphin seasons going strong.  April could be a great month for Sailfish, those that love these fish look for something amazing to take place every year at the end of the Sailfish run, the “condition” as I’ve heard it called is when you can find tailing Sails body surfing waves offshore as they begin their migration to parts unknown for the Summer. 
  Tarpon season is all set to really get going here in the Keys, water temps and mullet runs are getting just right and everybody is waiting!  No matter how you go after the Silver King around these Islands its a given the you will get your chance to fight one or more of these fish soon.  Soon you will see poling skiffs staked out on the edges of flats on both sides of the Islands, there will be a guide standing on the rear poling platform and an angler or two on the bow scanning the water looking for Tarpon.  There is an etiquette on the water here in the Florida Keys that is practiced out of courtesy and to preserve the wonderful fishery we have here, its very simple, boaters give each other a wide right of way when running past a boat the is fishing.  This way migrating Tarpon that are easily spooked aren’t run over constantly by passing boats, try not to travel on the drop off or flats edge when running and don’t pass in front of or behind a staked out or poling boat that is working the deep edge of a flat, give these boat about a 600 yard radius around them to hunt fish.  The more we respect the other boaters space the better our fishery can be. 
  The Gulf of Mexico will offer good fishing in April, Cobia, Tripletail, Spanish Mackerel and big sharks will be active and there has been a very good push of Trout on the edge of the Everglades National Park lately.  Larger Trout have been showing up on the deep grass flats and these are spawning females along with the hopeful males that are looking to further the species (SPAWN).  Try throwing larger baits like 6 inch soft plastic mullet imitations and topwater plugs on flats edges.  These female fish are wanting to put on weight for the mass of eggs that they are producing so bigger is better right now.  Know your limits on Trout, the size slot is 15-20 inches and a 4 fish per angler limit, you are allowed on over slot fish but these are the big momma trout that hold future generations of Trout in their belly so please release these for the future fishermen. as always go to for all of the current fishery regulations and to renew your fishing licenses.   
  Reef and offshore action is going to continue to be strong, the Yellowtail bite is going to keep going and with East to Southeast breezes the Mahi bite will really take off in April.  Double dipping or filling limits of Yellowtail and Mahi will be easy and we should see plenty of Slammer Mahi mixed in the cooler with Flag Yellowtail.  Capt. George Clark Jr will be prowling the patch reefs of Key Largo looking for African Pompano this month as well as all of the other species that can be caught on the reef.  The action will only get better as the month goes on and water temps rise.

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