Fishing Report

AS OF APRIL 18th

“I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s looking like another blustery weekend, fishing-wise,” says Capt. Dave Lear. “Last weekend wasn’t much better, so coastal anglers have had to work really hard to find some decent fish lately.”

Friday appears to the best window if you have the day off or vacation coming. Saturday will be windy yet again and another expected cold front with rain is forecast for Sunday. The constant temperature fluctuations have the fish totally confused. The creeks are still holding fish or they’re remaining in deeper water for a day or two each time the overnight temperatures drop. The shallow flats have mainly been a bust. As is typical this time of year, the eastern portions of Apalachee Bay, from the St. Marks River to Rock Island have been more active than to the west. Darker bottom is the likely reason why.

Fresh dead shrimp on a jig hook or fake shrimp fished plain or under clacker-style corks are working the best for trout right now. Suspending plugs that probe the depths just above the grass tips are another good choice. The water clarity is still surprisingly clear even with the winds and rain, so chrome and gold patterns in the hard lures will stand out. Natural, gold/glow and new penny are the top selections in the shrimp lure category. A few anglers have scored fish with electric chicken and other bright, gaudy colors. If you can find ‘em, live pinfish or shiner tails will produce nice trout, too.

Redfish continue to prowl the backcountry creeks, rock grass patches and flooded oyster bars. They’ll wolf down any of the aforementioned trout offerings, but a weedless spoon in gold or pink is rarely refused.

Sheepshead are hanging around shallow rock piles inshore. Live fiddler crabs or shrimp will fool them if they don’t spook first. A few flounder are coming to the net, along with the occasional black sea bass and smaller black drum. Spanish mackerel have been scattered of late.

The seasonal visitors—pompano, cobia and tripletail—are few and far between. They’re probably like us, just waiting for the spring weather to stabilize and the water to warm back up and stay warm. The action for these species will only get better in the next couple of weeks.

The crescent moon phase won’t be triggering super tides this weekend, but there will be enough water movement to spur appetites, if the weather allows. Peak times will be a couple hours right around dawn with the moon down and again close to dusk as the moon rises again.