March and Early April Fishing Report 2012
There wasn’t too many days in March and April that held you back from being on the water fishing and catching almost all of our spring species in the Clearwater and Dunedin fishing area. Yeah, we had a few “cool” fronts, very few and a couple of windy days, but nothing to keep spring from breaking early. If you did not get on the water and have a chance to enjoy these outstanding weather conditions and some of the best fishing on the West Coast of Fla., then you were just too busy.
We had bait fish under the bridges and in the flats pretty much all winter long and when the water warmed up ahead of schedule, all of the inshore fish took advantage. There were snook in the passes, mackerel in the bays and cobia showing up on the inshore reefs in late March. It didn’t stop there, with lots of flounder being caught, pompano made a good showing, tarpon getting an early start and kingfish pounding the beaches as well. “Man oh man”, this could go down as our best spring fishing ever.
Redfish and the large gator trout never did school up because of our warm winter. I found plenty of fish but they were scattered around the bay and back waters. Some great catches were made with large 30 to 35 inch redfish and 22 to 26 inch trout being caught in Clearwater Bay and St. Joseph Sound.
Here is a sampling of my spring time fishing and catching for March and April in the Clearwater and Dunedin fishing areas.
In March, Ben and Margaret joined up and we ventured out into the warm waters. Margaret boated several nice size redfish, 28 and 30 inches and an 18 inch pompano to start the day. Ben caught some nice sheepshead and trout all on live shrimp. Both anglers caught over 20 trout, 6 redfish and a mess of other takers.
John came out for some spring fishing action. He started out catching numerous trout on the grass flats inside Clearwater Bay, the biggest was 21 inches. He also landed a half dozen redfish from 16 to 24 inches at several different spots in shallow water. His biggest red was 31 inches and was his biggest ever. Most of these trout and reds were caught on live shrimp. Some of these redfish were pulled out from under a dock with great skill. WTG John.
Tim and sons, Jason and Josh, did a fantastic job catching 8 different species of fish on a beautiful March day. They teamed up and caught redfish, trout, ladyfish, mackerel and several other hungry fish. This was the boy’s first trout and redfish and they did a great job landing their fish.
March redfish were scattered all over the bay and it took several different locations to string together a good catch. That’s what Zack and Ralph did on their trip. Six nice 20+ inch redfish and a couple dozen trout up to 22 inches. Ralph added a two foot Bonnet head shark to the action as well. We caught these fish on live shrimp under a float in the flats of Clearwater Bay and along the mangrove shore lines.
Steve came out for an afternoon and we went straight for the redfish. After landing several 16 to 18 inch fish, he finally got the one he was looking for. This fish must have though he was a 40lb. beast in the way he fought, but ended up being 24 inches with a big heart. He was released to show off his power for another day. Good job Steve.
Bob and David teamed up to get out on the water and do some fishing. We started out catching many trout on live shrimp during the incoming tide in Clearwater. Then as the tide was near high, we shifted gears to target redfish. The action was slow and it took several locations to muster up 4 fish. Bob scored the biggest at 23 inches.
On a nice calm day in the last week of March, Brenda, Bob and Skyler started out catching a few good size flouder and two 20 inch trout in Clearwater Pass. After the tide turned, the action slowed and we moved inside to the grass flats and found a couple dozen hungry trout in the 15 to 17 inch size. They also added 5 spunky redfish up to 20 inches.
It was a sunny March day when Rick, Sharon and Stuart put in some quality fishing time. It didn’t take long for this angling family to score a 22 inch beauty of a trout. They added 15 additional trout in the 15 inch range as well. We fished live shrimp for redfish at several different locations and even though the redfish action was slow, they did land several nice reds with one measuring in at 24 inches.
Frank and sons, Jason and Logan, teamed up to take on the fishing world. Logan scored on several nice trout and some small redfish. Jason nailed his biggest red of the day, measuring in at 22 inches and added a nice flounder to the collection. Frank helped out by catching plenty trout and a beautiful 28 inch redfish. He also brought his fly rod and over some grass flats in Clearwater, he caught several nice mackerel and ladyfish. Well done.
Catches like these are showing up day after day here in the Clearwater fishing area. The fish are here to eat and my clients are putting on a great show. This action should continue during April and on through May and June. As long as the weather cooperates and the bait is plentiful, get out and get yourself some fish catching action.
Capt. Gary Burch