As the waters continue to warm around Pine Island, huge bait schools are invading the inshore waters and flats. A combination of warm water and oily baitfish, plus spring tides can really get the bite going.
April holds some of the best trout fishing of the year in southwest Florida with fish over 20 inches plentiful and larger “gators” common. Look for the larger trout in the same areas where you would target snook and redfish.
With the warm temperatures and ample supply of small fish our area redfish appetite has turned to baitfish including shiners, herring, and small pinfish. April brings us some great spring tides, look for the reds under the mangroves and on the perimeter of oyster bars on the high water and in sand holes, troths, or cruising the grass flats on the lower stages of tide.
Snook are on the move and holding in some areas better than others. It’s common to find schools of several dozen or more holding in an area for a few days then moving on. They also are feeding heavily on baitfish and are holding in the same areas with the redfish. Snook season is closed, catch and release only on our coast until September 2012 at the earliest, make sure to handle them with care and release them quickly and safely. Circle hooks are a positive step in preventing fish mortality and also greatly improves your hook-up rate, most fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth and the hook is easily removed. I prefer Owner Mutu Light Circle Hooks from 1/0 to 3/0 in size for inshore light tackle fishing for snook, reds, trout, and whatever else comes along.
Speaking of whatever else, we aren’t catching a lot, but we are catching some really nice flounder over the same bottom we are targeting trout and reds.
As usual in April the waters of Charlotte Harbor and northern Pine Island Sound are often crystal clear. With larger fish including tarpon, sharks, and cobia moving into our area the clear water makes them easy to see. More tarpon are showing up each day, with a good pair of polarized sunglasses they are easily sighted over the light colored sand bottom along bar drop-offs. Keep the heavier tackle rigged and ready!
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“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell