At the start of the month, it appeared that warm weather might arrive early but, as it turned out, some mid month cooling settled things back a bit. Redfishing had been fairly consistent until after this front came through, then fish became a bit scattered.  This situation should remedy itself soon as, already, larger fish are beginning to show up again. Expect fishing to strengthen as warming water and better tides arrive. April is generally a banner month for this species and this year should be no exception. A few larger schools of fish were located in the last week which bodes well for some high fish count days in the near term. 

Spring Tampa Redfish

Large seatrout appear to finally be thinning on the spoil islands, although limits of quality fish were still acheivable in the last week of April. Expect these fish to move to the beach and remain abundant out there until early June. These larger trout will often be found in the same locations as snook and both respond well to the same bait...medium to large whitebait. Free line these baits through target areas. If trout are in the area, it won't be long before fish are hooked.  If not, keep moving as these fish tend to group up on the beach, similar to their behavior inside St Joseph's Sound. Open year round, the limit is still three fish 15-19 inches, but do remember the one rule change this year...only one trout larger than 19 inches is allowable per boat...not per angler.

Monster Seatrout in Clearwater




Snook fishing for small and medium snook was normal in April with a typical charter resulting in several to a half dozen fish being hooked. Many were under slot with a keeper fish being caught on about every other charter over the last two weeks. Effective May 1st, snook is now closed until September though so the slot becomes immaterial. Snook will make their annual move to our beaches in good numbers this month. Unlike trout, these fish will be more selective in regards to taking a bait and are much more likely to eat a bait presented on a longer, clean leader where the angler eliminates any drag on the bait.  The best snook fishermen have the ability to maintain the least amount of line between the rod tip and the bait without influencing how the bait swims. This is critical as a snook bite is often very light and should the fish choose not to run, an angler with too much slack line may never see the the fish time to dump the bait. Expect big female snook to show up in large groups at some point this month. The next eight weeks represent the best opportunity to catch a trophy snook so now is the time. Larger baits will become important in the fishing arsenal...grass grunts, ladyfish and shad all represent baits that could entice the fish of a lifetime to bite.

Tampa Snook Fishing

Tarpon have been spotted on the beach but not in huge numbers yet.  These are sure to follow, as evidenced by the many tarpon anglers already setting up 40 - 50 yards off the beach. Getting up early is key to tarpon fishing success in our heavily populated area. Crabs are probably the bait of choice but are much less abundant than large grass grunts or threadfins, which will also trigger bites. Good luck and good fishing.

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