April Brings High Expectations for Coastal Anglers
April brings in high expectations for the coastal angler. A lingering winter is finally over and the process of nature can begin anew. Flowers blooming, trees becoming lush with new growth, signal that our surroundings are about to kick into another gear. Anticipation for a great fishing season could not be higher and the warm beautiful conditions just add fuel to the fire. So get your rod and tacklebox and let’s do some fishing!
April stirs the soul of many anglers, but for those who target speckled trout the excitement for fishing the upcoming spawn is amped up. Some of the largest specks of the year are caught during April. Big females cruising around with bellies full of roe can become the fish of a lifetime for some. Those searching for a personal best up their odds by fishing for speckled trout this month.
Speckled trout will be coming out of the rivers and deep holes this month. Target these exit spots and you could connect with both numbers of fish and big specks. April has always been a good month for specks at the mouth of Dog River. Soft plastic grubs take the majority of fish here. Saltwater Assassin grubs in the chartreuse or baby bass colors work well. Cast into the middle of the river channel and work the bait up the incline of the channel for best results. Be sure to cast the lure upstream and allow the current to move the bait along as naturally as possible.
White trout are known to mix with Dog River specks in April. The whites will hit on the same retrieve technique, except that root beer and chartreuse glow colors seem to tickle the white trout’s fancy a bit more.
Big specks will also be on the move in Theodore canal this month. Try fishing suspending plugs, such as the MirrOlure or Twitchin Rap, along the shorelines at daylight. Cast to within five feet of the bank and slowly retrieve the lure back to the boat. Make pauses along the way to give trout a chance to size up your offering. Most strikes occur on this pause
Sheepshead will still be available this month at every location with a barnacle on it. The gas rigs in Mobile Bay can be especially busy with sheepshead as water temperatures rise and salinity conditions improve. A fresh piece of dead shrimp fished up against the rig legs will entice the sheepshead. Sheepshead have small, very tough mouths, so something like an Owner Flyliner in sizes 1, 2, or 4 will work best. Sheepshead can also be taken on fiddler crabs. Just remember to remove the pincer claw from the crab before attempting to put it on a hook. First, the pincer is easy for the sheepshead to grab and quickly steal the bait. Secondly, even though the claw is small, it can still produce a painful pinch to your fingers!
Anglers who love fishing the offshore waters can be rewarded with great catches this month. Capt. George Pfeiffer of Action Charter Service offered this advice: “Amberjack is still open for those who want to venture out past 30 to 40 miles. Along with amberjack, you can still catch and keep a few other fish. For the amberjack, you can use Diamond jigs or butterfly jigs. Shimano makes a variety of sizes and color combinations. You can also catch some very good beeliners this month on cut squid or mackerel. Also you can run into some big scamp on the rocks by fishing with live hardtails or alewives.”
For those just wanting to ‘get the bugs out’ of their fishing boat, you can make a few runs around the close gas rigs and drop a few baits. You should find redfish and black drum as well a few bluefish and Spanish mackerel. All you will need is a few dead shrimp fished along the bottom to connect with willing fish.
The cobia run should be well upon the way by this month. Try patrolling the beaches looking for roaming pods of the dark brown fish. Using a good pair of polarized sunglasses can help you zone in on the groups of cobia and get ahead of the traveling bands. Cast a live eel or a large bucktail jig ahead of the school in hopes of fooling the very tasty cobia. Boats with elevated towers hold an advantage for spotting the fish. It may pay off handsomely to book a charter that specializes in this type of fishing. You will learn a lot in a short period of time that will pay dividends on future trips. A full index of boats offering fishing charters along the Alabama coast can be found at through the Alabama Charter Fishing Association.
Bass will still be a top target for Lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta anglers during April. Instead of the spinnerbait bite in the shallow grassy bays of the delta, soft plastics will be better to deal with the thickening grasses. Hooked weedless, the worms or lizards can be swam through the mats of grass without hanging up. Ribbit frogs and Speed worms in dark green work well using this method. You can actually put out a line out of the back of the boat, sort of trolling style, to catch trailing bass.
Bream will still be in the creeks, but will be working their way out to the shallow waters this month. Live crickets will take the bream fished shallow, about four to six feet deep, in the creeks. Later in the month, you should target lakes and bays. McEvoy Lake, Byrnes Lake and Mifflin Lake are all great places to find bream. Fish around the base of any cypress trees you encounter, as well as the remnants of old duck blinds.
White perch should be available is several delta lakes. Fishing around structure is the key to taking your share of perch. Live minnows are always a great bait choice, but small spinnerbaits like Beetle Spins and Road Runners will also put fish in the boat. Target grass lines and the base of cypress trees in places like Dead Lake and McReynolds Lake.
April is sure to put a ‘pep in your step’ and a ‘glide in your stride’ if you’re a coastal angler. Fish are getting ‘agreeable’ again and you need to make sure you get your fair share.
With temperatures so mild, it will be easy to forget about the bright sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen so that your memory of a good fishing trip won’t be cancelled by a sunburn!
See you on the water.