Marching through Spring we have been plagued with yet a few more, late cold fronts and windy days. Fortunately, the fishing hasn’t suffered nearly as much as my lower back. They key for us has been getting our bait early and fishing protected areas as much as possible. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the month has been the redfish and snook bite.
This time of year, it’s all about having a livewell full of pilchards. Every day starts with the bait grind but the rewards are well worth the sometimes-exhausting efforts to capture the white gold. As of today, the bait has not yet invaded our grass flats in healthy numbers which keeps us hunting in the deeper stretches of the bay to secure enough bait for a day of fishing. Range markers, bridges, and piers will still be packed with boats for at least another couple weeks until the pilchards find their way to shallow water to spawn.
With a “blacked-out” livewell, now it’s time to hit the mangroves and flats in search of game fish. Our snook have made it to the flats and are awaiting the arrival of their spring time feeding frenzy. Most of the outer edges and points will hold good numbers of fish. Focus on pinch points with flow. Creek mouths, bellies through islands, troughs, and main passes will be holding hungry fish. These areas will predominately harbor snook but look for redfish to be attracted to the commotion as they navigate to and from the mangroves during the tidal transitions.
For me, I have been focusing on the redfish during on the lower tide conditions. I’m not too concerned whether it’s incoming or outgoing. I just like it low. Once the water gets up, the redfish will tuck deep in the mangroves and can be challenging to target. On the lower water, they will be out foraging the shallow grass flats and normally are looking for a meal. With the absence of bait, they have been happy to join the pilchard party we have been throwing on the flats. Find a good area and work from the sandbar to the mangroves on the incoming tide and vice-versa on the outgoing tide. One useful thing to remember is follow the mullet. Take note of which direction they are moving and align yourself in conjunction with their activity. Don’t be afraid to chum heavy. In most conditions, you will have to build a bite.
Especially in the open water, it will be tough to rid yourself of the birds. As frustrating as it can be at times, they will actually help funnel fish to your area. I can’t count the times where nothing but birds were eating the “chummers” then all of a sudden – BOOM the fish are there. The gamefish will be attracted to the racket being made by your feathered friends and once you have them interested, it won’t take nearly as many “freebies” to keep them around and you can reduce the headache of feeding the birds and concentrate on cranking in the fish.
Until next month, tight lines and following seas!
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
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