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Please see the world famous lure that a Spanish mackerel can’t seem to pass up…the Clark Spoon! I always say, “The red ball makes the call!” Photo by Capt. Judy Helmey
Please see the world famous lure that a Spanish mackerel can’t seem to pass up…the Clark Spoon! I always say, “The red ball makes the call!” Photo by Capt. Judy Helmey

Fishing Report: Spring Temperatures Get the Fish Moving

INSHORE:
Creeks, rivers, and sounds
April fishing brings fishermen closer to the act of catching. Bait shops should start to carry more live shrimp, and so should you. With live shrimp in the well, varying sizes of traditional adjustable floats, and popping corks you’ll be ready to find and catch all sorts of fish. Redfish, spotted sea trout and flounder cannot resist this bait. Another way to present live shrimp is to just “fish naked,” with a light leader, small split shot, and small hook. All you need to do is hook your shrimp up under the horn and cast into place. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take your net or your camera!

 

Plain old bottom fishing in the sound
During the month of April you’ll find  everything from whiting to sharks to blue fish to stingray in the sounds. It’s fun just dropping a line down to the bottom and seeing what will catch on your hook. Use small pieces of shrimp on light tackle rigs and even the smaller fish will offer some nice action, and they’ll make even better bait for a larger catch. Cut the small fish into chunks and rig it onto heavier tackle. Remember, in the sound, the bigger the bait the bigger the fish! It’s all up to you!

 

Standing up row from left to right: Susan Stahl, Dagny Stahl, Herb Stahl, Thomas R. James, Audra James (pink cap), William James, (blue cap, red jacket) and Thomas James (tan cap) Front row kneeing: Ken James (holding fish) and Thomas James. Photo by Capt. Judy Helmey
Standing up row from left to right: Susan Stahl, Dagny Stahl, Herb Stahl, Thomas R. James, Audra James (pink cap), William James, (blue cap, red jacket) and Thomas James (tan cap) Front row kneeing: Ken James (holding fish) and Thomas James. Photo by Capt. Judy Helmey

OFFSHORE:
Artificial Reefs
As water temperatures continue to rise through the spring, you can bet that fish will be on the move. With this increased movement comes increased appetite, which is of course good news for fishermen. Artificial reefs can hold the attention of fish from bottom to top water.  When bottom fishing you might catch black sea bass, flounder, bluefish, white-bone porgy, summer trout, cobia, and other biters. Top water fish such as Spanish mackerel feed on any baits that they can find and will also hit the bottom for food. I find the best bait for these nearly invisible fish to be the ever-popular small to medium Clark Spoon. I suggest either trolling the spoons deep or pitching them right over the structure. Bring along a suitable dip net, as you’ll likely need it to land the mackerel.

 

Savannah Snapper Banks and Gulf Stream
Finally, offshore fishermen should head out to the Savannah Snapper Banks, about 35 miles offshore. Use cut fish and squid to catch vermilion snapper, white grunt, triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy, white bone, cobia, and many other top/bottom biters (grouper season opens May 1).

For the fishermen seeking blue water status, April is your month. The 70-mile run for tuna, dolphin, wahoo, mako shark, and billfish is definitely worth it.  Single-hook, chin-weighted dink ballyhoo and cedar plugs are the best bait to use. Then again, give bottom fishing a try out deep to catch football vermilion, mega triggerfish, sand tile, knobbed porgy, and fish not even listed in the identification booklet. When targeting the snapper grouper species, all fishermen must use circle hooks. It’s the law! Here’s the good news about circle hooks: all you have to do is to get your bait to the bottom! Always suggest checking for current fishing regulations before heading offshore. The best website for up-to-date federal fishing regulations is http://www.safmc.net/

 

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