There’s nothing that stirs the soul of the coastal angler more than the warm breezes of spring. Check out this month’s coastal outlook!
April sets off an alarm in the head of speckled trout anglers in search of large trout. Speckled trout will be moving back and forth from the depths as the warm sun rays heat up the shallows. Specks will start showing over oyster shell bottoms. The shells capture the warming effect of the sun and small bait starts to increase, as well as the hungry specks that feed on them.
When this happens you should target the fish with live shrimp under a cork. If live shrimp is not available you should try D.O.A. Shrimp under a rattling cork or popping cork. If the water is clear you should go with natural colors, but if the water is off color, you should go with brighter colors like chartreuse.
Specks and redfish will also start to make their appearance on the man-made reefs this month. Reefs on the eastern side of Mobile Bay will turn on first, as the waters of the eastern shore stay clearer on incoming tides. Reefs in the Mississippi Sound will also start holding fish this month. Use soft plastic grubs to fool the specks and reds.
If you don’t own a boat you can still get in on some April action at the jetties of Perdido Pass. Sheepshead, bluefish and a few speckled trout will be hanging around the rocks. Use live shrimp if available. If not available, you can catch fish on dead shrimp or plastic grubs.
April is still one of those ‘in-between’ months when it comes to offshore fishing beeliners and white snapper are among the few catch and keep species available in April. While you still can catch lots of red snapper, you must return them to the water till the season opens in June. However, some of the best picture opportunities take place during the closed season, so be sure to take along a camera to record your success.
“Some commercial captains employ the use of towers to spot the cobia on their move westward. Once spotted, you should try to intercept the fish and toss a frisky live eel in front of the fish.”
A lot of attention will be focused on the annual migration of cobia this month. Some commercial captains employ the use of towers to spot the cobia on their move westward. Once spotted, you should try to intercept the fish and toss a frisky live eel in front of the fish. It’s quite exciting to see the fish approach and engulf the live eels. A friend of mine. George Turner described this as a brown torpedo moving in and when the cobia opens its mouth it looks like a large white pie plate about to take the eel or other bait. Speaking of other baits, the cobia will readily hit large plastic jigs tossed in front of them. Chartreuse or white colors are local favorites.
During the month of April, many captains in the offshore charter fleet rely on the steady bite of bull reds to complete a trip. These big reds will clobber Drone spoons trolled behind the boat. Often, several rods will bend at once, adding a delightful chaos to the trip.
Bass will still be plenty active in the shallow bays of the Tensaw Delta. Spinnerbaits will still rule as the top bait, but as grasses become thicker, soft plastic worms or lizards worked through the grass will be a better choice. Colors such as Junebug or Tequila Sunrise will be good choices for the soft plastics. April’ is still a month of weather un-stability. Setting up where these bays drain into creeks can be a great strategy to locate schools of bass. Weather fronts can still pass through, accompanied by strong north winds. This situation will drain the shallow bays and force the bass back into the creeks.
Bream should still be hanging around in Delta creeks until the water warms, urging the bream to seek bedding areas in shallow spots. On the lower Delta, be sure to check out the numerous duck blinds left over from the past duck season. If waters warm early, you could hit a nice payload of bream. Use crickets to entice the bream.
If waters remain cool, you can still locate bream in the creeks. Use seed shrimp along the grass edges of the creeks, paying special attention to any structure you find. If you can’t catch your own seed shrimp, live crickets are a top producer for April bream.
Crappie will be available in middle Delta lakes if waters clear. Look for the crappie around any wood structure. Be sure to fish the bases of cypress trees in the lakes. Drop small jigs by the bases. This can be done with or without the aid of a small cork. Dangling the bait almost motionless will trigger strikes more than you would expect. You can also employ the use of small spinnerbaits to fool the crappie. Chartreuse Road Runner baits are excellent in this scenario. You might even catch a few aggressive bass using the small spinnerbaits.
Nice lively crappie minnows will take the lion’s share of crappie, if available. Try dangling the minnows near any structure. Boathouses and pier pilings are great places to target the crappie. Don’t ignore grass edges near channels to find crappie this month.
Warm weather surely excites both anglers and fish this month. While the fish may be tough to find, once you locate them, you can really put a hurting on them!
See you on the water!
Live crappie minnows
Boutwell’s Bait and Tackle
251-937-8649 (Bay Minette, AL)