April 2012 Fishing Forecast
Clearwater and Dunedin fishing should start to dramatically pick up in April and continue to get better. Our unusually warm winter has our piscatorial friendís showing up in the bays and inland waters way ahead of schedule. April and May is shaping up to be an exciting time to go fishing on the West Coast of Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
The perfect scenario would be, water temperature in the middle 70ís and bait fish on the grass flats and along the beaches. With our warm winter, white bait has been available to cast net on any given day in different areas throughout the bays of Clearwater and St. Joseph Sound. This will jump start our spring fishing season and fire up our catchí en action. Pick your species of fish to chase, net up some white bait and go for it.
Redfish: They will be scattered throughout the mangroves and oyster bar shore lines like they have been all winter. You will need a high tide to get up close to these areas and you may have to search a lot of water. Use your white bait and chum a little, this should get their attention. Donít forget to bring shrimp along; Iíve seen shrimp out catch white bait 3 to 1. Small pinfish and fresh cut chunk bait, like mullet or lady fish, will also do the trick when redfish are found.
Trout: Look for moving water in the bays with a grass and sand bottom in about 3 to 5 feet deep. Choose a spot were your flat is next to deeper water, the trout like to set up on the edge and ambush their food. Clearwater and Dunedin have some fantastic areas to drift and locate the fish. Toss out your baits under a float to keep them just off the bottom and continue moving until fish are found. Once found, Power Pole down and fish that area thoroughly, then move on.
Snook: The snook will be on their way to the beaches and passes in April. You may find them at the spoil islands or in the shallows near the passes. This warm winter has our linesiders out of their winter haunts earlier than normal. I saw a couple of large snook laying up in an April hang out spot in the middle of February. They will be feeding on white bait and pin fish on the flats and in the passes of Clearwater and Dunedin. Use the same baits to target these spring snook.
Other targeted species will be tarpon, kingfish, cobia and plenty of mackerel in the bays.
Mark your calendars and get out there. Join in the best time of the year to go fishing. Set your hook on some life time memories.
Capt. Gary Burch