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April, Bay Life Renewed

by Capt. Brent Hopkins - USCG Licensed Fishing Guide  



Except for the on-again, off-again high winds, April is one of my favorite times of the year to fish. The weather is mild and the water temps are beginning to hold above the 70 degree mark, seemingly bringing the bays in our area back to life.


This is the time of year when we get an influx of water from the gulf bringing with it all kinds of bait, tide runner trout, and shrimp out of the estuaries. With all of the favorable conditions, our fish have a smorgasbord to prey upon, helping them to recover from the hardships of winter.  Redfish will also be plentiful in April, and I prefer to concentrate on the windward shorelines instead of the leeward sides as I do for trout fishing. By this time of year you should be able to find plenty of reds on the flats and in the back lakes too.




My preferred lures for reds in April has always been soft plastics with a paddle tail of some sort while wade fishing or drifting the shallow flats. Another very good lure is a 1/4 oz. copper Johnson Sprite Spoon. A spoon is awesome for covering a lot of water fast while trying to locate redfish drifting in a boat, wade fishing in off colored waters, or on the wide expanses of shallow water flats.


If I want to really slam the redfish, and I usually do, I throw mullet. Reds canít resist that stuff!!  It is sometimes hard to decide where to fish with all the baitfish swarming into our bays. One of the surest ways of knowing there are trout in the area is to look for one of the easiest signs to read; which are "slicks". Slicks look like a oily spot on the water and have a sweet smell once you're down wind of them. Keep in mind the smaller the slick, the fresher it is. If you find a plate sized slick, then you know that THAT fish is still very close by. Slicks mean the oils from the baitfish that the trout just regurgitated, just made it to the top of the water. If you find slicks that are strung out caused by the wind blowing across the water, don't lose faith. All is not lost!  The fish are in the area - you know, you just have to locate them!!




Usually, the fish will be holding upwind of a "strung out" slick. Another good sign of trout being in the area is shad BUSTING & SCATTERING on the surface, trying to get out of harmís way of a marauding predatory fish. You should never ignore these signs! Fish the area thoroughly until
convinced, rather than heading for a particular honey hole or "spot". Habitually fishing in this way you will definitely improve your catching ratios overall. You should always fish according to the conditions and tell-tale signs instead of fishing spots. There will be plenty of trout still holding on our mid bay reefs, but a lot of them will be staging on hard sand and grass beds for their upcoming annual spawn. Once the water temperatures hold around the 72-76 degree mark, the spawn will be in high gear. If you are a boat and live bait fisherman looking for trout, head for the mid bay reefs and fish with a live shrimp, or a Berkley Gulp 3" plastic shrimp, under an Alameda Rattling Cork.


You're sure to find plenty of eager fish willing to stretch your line. If you're a wade fisherman and prefer to throw artificial lures, you won't find a month more productive or as exciting for wading the shorelines as April. Soft plastics will be your best bet if you're wanting just sheer numbers of hookups for trout and reds, but this is the time of year I really enjoy throwing top water baits for some unbelievable blow ups and heart-stopping excitement. Some of my favorite top water baits during this time of year are the Mirrolure Top Dogs, Top Dog Jr's, Heddon Spooks, and Excalibur's Flip'N Shad.


Colors consisting of blue/chrome, chrt/gold, and black/silver. Soft plastic colors I prefer in April are electric chicken, bone diamond, plum/chrt, and of course punk'Nseed/chrt rigged on a 1/8 oz. chartreuse screw-lock jig head with a #2 hook made by Bass Assassin. 


In closing, April has a lot to offer. The weather is always tolerable and usually very nice except for some of those days with very high winds. The bays are not yet too crowded, yet the fishing action can be terrific. What are you waiting for? Come on down and try your hand at fishing during the bays' renewed life in April. It might just surprise you!!


Until next time, Remember when the cards are down and

the bet is called, you have your Ace In The Hole.
Captain Brent Hopkins - USCG Fishing Guide
Reserve Now: 361-534-4007





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