April is a transition month with winter pompano, Spanish mackerel and bluefish on their way out, bringing an increase of baitfish inshore with tarpon and snook hot on their tails. Water temperatures both inshore and offshore will continue to rise – “summer’s not far behind”.
Offshore, look for cobia still hanging around inside 100 feet deep around wrecks and beneath giant manta rays. With more east winds around, weed lines begin to form making the area prime for you dolphin fans. Ricky Who ???. Look for a strong dolphin run in late April or early May with fish migrating north from the Keys. You cannot go wrong with trolled ballyhoo, allowing coverage of more ground than drifting live baits. The kingfish bite should be good in the 40-60 ft. range using greenies, sardines or dragging dead baits. There’s still a need a watch the weather in April due to traditionally strong east winds from time to time. Bottom fishing is always good in April (someone once told me never say “never” and don’t ever say “always”, but year after year it’s proven to be so.
In the surf, the biggest bluefish of the year will be terrorizing everything that moves. Look for fish over 12 lbs. both in the surf and inshore. Spoons, plugs, poppers and cut bait on the bottom seem to attract the most attention. Blues are excellent sport fish providing screaming runs on light tackles. There are still a few pompano around (mostly far away from the bluefish). Sand fleas still rule in the surf. Snook and tarpon will be cruising in the first trough, mainly in the dark hours near sunrise and sunset. Live baits, soft rubber or lipped lures work great! Windcheaters work extremely well when its blowing out of the east.
Inside, look for a definite increase in baitfish. Small greenies can be found right off the Stuart Causeway boat ramps with bunker under the quarter bridge at night fleeing from large tarpon just outside the shadow lines. Mullet will be cruising in the shallow grass flats. From the bridges , snook are still banging flair hawks along the bottom along with shrimp and mullet. Get those baits deep!!!
The trout bite is good in April with many fish under 18” around. Look towards the east side of the river near Herman’s Bay if the wind picks up. Otherwise, the west side should be hot with trout, snook and reds. This area along Indian River Drive should produce a fair number of inshore slams.
Tripletail season swings into full gear with most of them within 30 feet of channel markers and bridges. Live shrimp on a trollrite or DOA CAL and shrimp are my favorites and seem to be the tripletail’s favorites too. This morning’s trip proved very “hot” with the largest at 14 lbs. I encourage releasing any fish that’s not dinner for the night, but especially the ones over l5 lbs., insuring a population for the future. The minimum is 15” with 2 per angler.
Tarpon mania will soon be underway, with fish at the normal spots (just outside the channel south of the quarter bridge to marker 239, IRP channel, Club Med and outside Big and Little Mud Creeks). Don’t overlook the grass flats. There will be tarpon well over 60 lbs. tracking bait schools. Drifting live baits or sight casting with DOA silver and black baitbusters or rootbeer terrorize will hook you up!!
I’m looking forward to a great month of April fishing here on the Treasure Coast.
The days are getting longer, so get out there and fish!!!
Capt. Bob Bushholz