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APRIL 2017 FEATURED GUIDE ARTICLE

 

April, 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 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

 

FISHING THE FOUR SEASONS



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 temperature gauge.

 

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 reef.

 

 

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 other.
 

 

BOOK NOW!   CALL: 361-774-3817
See My Artwork from Years on the Water! Visit: www.ronmooreartist.com.
E-mail me: captron48@gmail.com  

FISHING GIFT CERTIFICATES

MAKE GREAT GIFTS!!
Visit: www.morebigfish.com
Get Out On The Water Today!

Capt. Ron Moore - USCG Licensed Fishing Guide

 

 

 

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