Now that it’s halfway through April we are getting back into the swing of the busy season. I have to say that I’m glad that March is over as it is one of the toughest months of the year to fish, and this one was exceptionally tough with abnormally low temps. April has brought in uptick in the fishing department but it has been no walk in the park. We’ve dealt with wind, dirty water, and rain almost all month. When the weather has cooperated, though, it has been pretty fun.
April Fishing Top Pick – Tripletail Fishing
As of right now, April 14th, the Tripletail fishing is hit and miss. That’s just how the early part of the season goes. However, over the next couple of weeks it will become more and more reliable as more fish begin to filter in. If you want to get on big Tripletail, the last half of April is the time to go as the biggest fish tend to get here first. It will be a couple of weeks before the fish are really congregated so there might be some failed attempts, but if you’re into rolling the dice, you might get rewarded with the fish of a lifetime.
If you are less of a gambler, just give it a couple weeks and there will be more opportunities although there will also be more boats on the water. Weekday trips will be your best bet if you want to fish in the peak Tripletail season.
Big Fish and Some Bonus Table Fare
Another choice, especially for those that don’t prefer to do a lot of casting, or “chunking and winding” is to do a Bull Redfish Trip. Bull Reds look great in pictures and put up an excellent fight. They are catch and release only, but the good news is that the Whiting bite is good right now and there is no limit on Whiting. They are easy to catch and they are hard to beat when you fry them up with some hush puppies. While you’re waiting on the big boys to bite you can spend some time putting Whiting in the fish box. Not a bad combo! This is probably the most reliable option for the next couple of weeks.
If the weather cooperates we can also head out to the reefs with some fiddler crabs for some Sheepshead fishing. We call Sheepshead “River Snapper” because they pull hard and taste like Snapper. It takes a fairly decent weather day to make this happen and you WILL have to fight through some small Sea Bass to get to the Sheepies, but it can be a lot of fun. It isn’t uncommon to run into some Spanish Mackerel around the reefs the time of year as well.
Trout, Redfish, and Flounder
April inshore fishing can blow your mind or try your patience from day to day. I remember one trip from a couple years ago that we left the dock at 8 AM on an April morning and after a 30 minute ride we had 30 Trout in the box at 9:22. As April giveth, it can also taketh away. It’s a transition month and just because we caught a bunch yesterday, doesn’t mean that today will be the same. Each day is a new puzzle and for those that are willing to put the time in and grind, you just might be rewarded. I just wouldn’t bet on booking a 4 hour trip and returning with a cooler full of fish.
So What’s up with May?
May is when our stress level goes down and we can finally stop taking blood pressure medication. We’ll have a lot more variety and flexibility. Trout will show up on Cumberland beach which makes for a great day. Cobia will come through with the peak usually being the week before Memorial Day. Tripletail fishing will be at it’s most reliable, and Shark fishing will be off the chain.
I love fishing in May because all of the things that we have been chomping at the bit to fish for will finally start coming together.
In Other News…
I’ve been having a real blast traveling for tournaments this month. I had a tough time at the championship out of Chalmette, LA and dealt with some lousy weather and boat issues.
In the Gulfport Open last week I finished day 1 in 4th place even after losing 3 fish that would have added 3 to 4 pounds to my weight. Day 2 I found a lot of fish, but I wasn’t able to cull out 2 6.5 pounders and slipped into 9th place to miss the cut. All in all, I’m happy to have the points and I’m looking forward to the next tournament out of Bayou Segnette next week.
Also, I was asked to take on the responsibility of Southeast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. The RFA is much like the NRA, with lobbyists in Washington, and state chapters that look after the rights of recreational fishermen. My job is to set up and insure the success of chapters in South Carolina, Georgia, and Northeast Florida. In Northeast Florida, Brett Cannon will be taking on the roll of Chairman but I am still looking for the right people in Georgia and South Carolina. If you are interested or know someone who would be a good fit, please let me know.
Keep tuning in for more updates. The best fishing of the year is on the horizon!
This report is sponsored by my good friends at Mossy Oak Properties, Coastal Land & Real Estate. Check out this week’s featured property in Tatnall County. 38 Acres + Cabin! Find out more here: http://www.mossyoakproperties.com/land/20145
Capt. TJ Cheek