Fishing to begin April has consisted of temps starting in the high sixty’s and ending in the 80’s. The water temp is in the mid to upper 70s and we are approaching the summer high tide cycles, meaning our high tides are higher in the summer and low tides are lower in the winter. The inflow of water inshore in the summer months allows for a great incoming tide bite and even stronger tidal swings around the full moon this month, on April 5th. The snook bite inshore is great, as the big females have made their way into the passes onto the beaches where they will stage in late spring and stay for the summer.
April and May are historically months when we hook the biggest fish of the year, as they feed heavily preparing to spawn. We have caught multiple overslot redfish lately, although there are still large numbers of rat-reds all over the flats and spoil islands, which is a great sign for our fishery. Oyster bars in the spring and summer offer some of the best action as the tide will typically cover the entire bar allowing these fish to feed freely on crustaceans and baits that use the bar as safety. April is a transitionary month for us when choosing what baits to throw- both live and artificial. Live baits that have been effective this month include live shrimp, pilchards, and pinfish. For artificials, paddle tails in natural colors like Z-man’s redfish toad, pinfish, root beer, and redbone mimicking baitfish are extremely productive and jerk baits like Z-man’s jerk shad in Laguna shrimp and jerk shrimp sexy penny mimicking shrimp.
I really want to highlight the trout bite in this report because I think these last 2 months, in particular, have been some of the best trout fishing in our region in years. The range of sizes being caught daily are reminiscent of the trout fishing we used to have before the massive red tide we experienced the last 5 years especially 2018. Although we have lost a lot of sea grass in the bay, finding the flats with luscious grass have been holding large numbers and some really big trout. We have had easy 20+ trout days and multiple 20+ inch trout days as well.
Trout are some of the most fun fish to catch on artificials, as they offer a ton of action for any skill level. A top water trout bite is hard to beat for me personally, the excitement I get from working a top water Heddon Super Spook Jr-“speckled trout” on a long cast and then the trout blowing the plug clear out of the water can never get old. Tarpon are slowly beginning to trickle into our area, as usually late April there are enough fish to begin fully targeting them. While out catching bait at the skyway recently I have seen a few fish rolling around the bridge in the mornings.
Bait is so thick on the bridges and piers it’s tough to get the net in, although it has not taken over the flats yet, it is certainly beginning to make its way inshore.
April begins the run up to the spring king of the beach and the nearshore kingfish bite is ramping up. Threadfins are lining the beaches and the mackerel are firing, which is a great sign of a fun tournament to come here in just a few short weeks.
Good luck this month and see you at the scale,
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Mastry Suzuki Repower
Hi – I’m Captain Skylar Wilks and I am a full-time Tampa Bay Inshore Guide, residing in Madeira Beach. I grew up spending my weekends and summers fishing with my Grandparents who live across the street from the Madeira Beach Marina. In 2011, I moved a bit further south to Fort Myers and attended Florida Gulf Coast University, with a scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. When I wasn’t playing soccer, I was spending my time learning the waters and fishing in Sanibel, Estero Bay, and the Naples area. In 2015, I graduated with a degree in Business Management and moved back to Madeira Beach to launch my fishing business, Inspired Fishing Charters.