Bay Life Renewed
by Capt. Brent Hopkins
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
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
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
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.
Hopkins - USCG Fishing Guide
FISHING THE FOUR
Speckled trout fishing can be really good throughout the
entire year. This article gives you some information on how
and where to fish for them throughout the years seasons.
April is the time of year that we all start getting the trout
fishing bug. It also begins the spawning season for the year.
Which will continue through the end of the summer. This is the
time it is good to wade fish the windward shorelines.
Imitation mullet lures and live Croakers for the live bait
fisherman are both good to use.
You will find good trout around
the grass beds in 2 feet to 4 feet deep water. This pattern
will continue through the first part of the summer.
Traditionally the larger trout will spawn first in early to
late April. If you want to target these larger fish after they
spawn on the shoreline then follow them to the deeper reefs in
the bay after about the middle part of June or first part of
July. You can still find spawning trout along these windward
shore lines but there won't be as many. You will also find
lots of small male trout, many of which are undersized.
Moving on to late summer as the
water gets really hot, the deeper channels such as the
intercoastal canal will have cooler water and will attract
more trout. This pattern will most likely continue into the
fall when the water cools. This is the time that is good for
drifting the flats with lures or live bait. The shell reefs
are also very good this time of year. This will continue until
the water gets cold and the start of the winter time trout
fishing season begins. This is a good time to have a water
During the winter only two or
three degrees difference in water temperature will make the
difference in finding trout and not. The intercoastal and
other deeper channels with soft mud bottoms are good places to
try for trout in the winter time. Once again the warmer water
will tend to hold more trout. If you are fishing shell reefs
sometimes one end of the reef will be warmer than the other
end. Take note of this with your water temperature gauge
because the trout will most likely be on the warmer end of the
This brings us back to the
springtime fishing in April. This has been a brief outline of
the patterns the fish go through throughout the year. It also
gives you a few hints on locating the trout any time of the
year If you are fishing with me then we will probably follow
this outline fairly closely. If things go as they should
you'll be catching fish and I will be doing sketches of the
seascape for future watercolor paintings. After 25 years of
guiding in this area, painting the Sportfishing scene is what
I mainly do now. Don't take that too literally though as I
have been seen with a paintbrush in one hand and a rod in the
My Artwork from Years on the Water! Visit:
FISHING GIFT CERTIFICATES
MAKE GREAT GIFTS!!
Get Out On The Water Today!
Capt. Ron Moore - USCG Licensed Fishing Guide