Fishing continues to be extremely good with the fish really chewing good over the past two weeks. Bait has finally started to show up and has become pretty reliable without having to spend all morning to get it. The snook fishing and the red fishing has been my main focus for the past week, and a lot of quality trophy size fish are being caught on recent trips.
Red fishing has been excellent over the past few weeks and should remain steady for the next few months. Most of the fish we have been catching have been top slot fish, with many fish over-slot. Double and triple hook-ups have been pretty common on most trips, and we have been averaging 12-20 fish on a four-hour trip with many in the 28-34" range.
Live and dead bait have been working well. The higher tides have been more productive, but the low tides have been great for sight-fishing trailers and waking schools of fish.
I have spent most of my time working the bigger schools of fish on the higher tides with either live sardines or fresh-cut bait like ladyfish or threadfins. The key to catching these fish has been a quite stealthy approach as the fish have been hit hard over the past month and patience has been key. Light leader and small hooks will also increase the hook-up ratios.
The snook fishing has been excellent as most of the fish are leaving the back waters and heading towards the beaches and pass to get ready to spawn. Live chumming has really helped with locating active fish. Live sardines have worked the best, but we have been getting a few on the flats on dead bait while fishing for redfish. Look for the snook to be moving out of the back waters and towards the inlets. As of late we have been getting a lot of over-slot snook in the 34-40" range. As for tackle I have been using 30-40 lb. leader and 1/0 circle hooks with live sardines either free-lined or fishing under a cork. If you are looking to get a trophy snook, now is the time before they get hammered on the beaches.
Mackerel fishing has been great and the King mackerel have finally showed up off the beach. In the next week or so I will be on beach patrol fishing for both Spanish mackerel and Kings for almost the entire month of April. Look for the mackerel to be in the shipping channel, over wrecks and reefs, and out on the hard bottom just off the beach. Trolling and anchoring are both effective methods to catch these fish, and once you find the large concentrations of baitfish, the mackerel should be in the same area.
Sheepshead fishing has slowed down, but tarpon fishing is about to start heating up here shortly.On a recent trip this past week we ended up getting one tarpon to the boat for a leader touch, and I will start fishing for them once April is here. So if you want to get out and do some trophy snook fishing, early season tarpon fishing or kingfishing, now is the time to book your trip.