Goodbye April, Hello May
April is now gone but not forgotten. The start of the Spring season came early with a wonderful Snook bite in higher numbers since the freeze. Florida has seen a healthy spike in the Snook population in the last few years but this season has been the best. Expect the bite to continue through the spawn with many huge fish caught.
This could be a great year to break your PB (personal best) record fish. Topwater lures such as the Dawgwalker by Unfair Lures will work best on the outgoing tides. Fly fisherman looking for an action packed bite try tossing a Gurgler along the mangroves and hold on! Shrimp patterns like the Simple Micro Shrimp can also be used for those lazy, laid-up fish. If it's live bait you're into, nothing beats a nice Greenback on a cork, let it sit and BAM!
The Redfish made a showing, disappeared and have now made a return and eating everything in sight! The trick in catching these guys is finding them first. I have been spotting them in an near Jack Crevalle and Mullet feeding off the messes they leave behind. These are super lazy fish looking for an easy meal. Small pods of fish will break away and feed on their own and in those cases, a soft and subtle presentation is key.
If you are using artificials try to make them land as quiet as possible and work them slow. This is where finesse comes in to play and nothing can beat a fly. Once again Gurglers will get action packed striked (if you can them to come up top) but patterns like the Backwater Special or the Kwan Shrimp can't be beat. For live bait, Shrimp on a cork or Creek Chubs are hard to beat.
Trout are here, never left and don't plan to go anywhere except for deeper water on the warmer days. The best technique to locating them is to drift a flat while casting either a soft plastic like a 4" Shad by DOA or an Unfair Lures Shrimp over the grass flats and pot holes until you get a strike then stake out. Fan cast those areas and you should find more fish. The bite slows down simply repeat the cycle. One of my favorite fly patterns for this is the "Hi tie" Clouser. Simple yet very effective fly for sight casting or search casting for Speckled Trout in the flats.
Next featured fish of the month is Tarpon. One. Anglers come from all over the world to wrestle in a Tampa Bay Tarpon and they are just about ready to make a showing. Some have been spotted cruising the channels but no action has been reported yet. Juvenile Tarpon are begining to bite though. The action has been a little sluggish but will improve as the rain season starts.
DOA 4" Shads, Unfair Lures Rip-n-Slash and Arrowheads will get you fish. For a real blast on fly, toss a Backwater Special or Poppin' Shrimp to rolling fish, strip set and it's on! For live bait Mullet, Ladyfish and Pilchards have been catching them for years.
Flounder, Cobia, Triple Tail and Black Drum still roam the area and even schools of Pompano and Permit have been seen tailing in the grass. Expect all of this activity and more to continue as the winds subside throughout May and into June.
This is the best time to catch multiple species and that bucket list fish you've been after. We still have some trips open but book now before they fill up.
Tight lines and see you on the water!