Destin / Choctawhatchee Bay – April 2020

Capt. Brad Bishop putting clients on some quality Choctawhatchee Bay reds.
Capt. Brad Bishop putting clients on some quality Choctawhatchee Bay reds.

Spring is officially here! It doesn’t get much better than getting out on the water after being cooped up in the house all winter. Those sunny days with a soft south-easterly wind blowing can get anyone jacked up about going fishing.

Inshore: The inshore bite over the last couple weeks has been red hot and should only get better through the month of April. The trout and redfish are now out of their winter patterns and have moved along with the bait out into open water. With the extended warming trend we’ve had, the water temps have gone up drastically. Wherever the bait goes, the fish will follow. Large numbers of trout, averaging between 16- to 18 inches, have been caught using soft and hard plastics. Some of my favorites this time of year are the suspending Mirrolures. The redfish bite has been the same. Some of the best fishing for redfish is on an outgoing/falling tide along the bridge pilings. Use a heavy jig head tipped with a 3” Gulp Shrimp and fish them right up against the pilings. For the live bait fishermen, pinfish have shown back up on the grass flats and you can catch all you want with a cast net. A few of the bayous to the north side have had a bunch of greenies and should stay that way through the month.

Nearshore/Beach: Spring is always the best time of the year for nearshore and beach fishing. Everything gets up on the beach in the spring, including pompano, cobia, spanish mackerel, redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish and more. The most sought after fish of spring is the cobia. We’ve seen a good number of fish the last couple weeks but things should really kick into gear this month. Typically, the highest point of the migration is the first two weeks in April. Cobia are usually pretty hungry when they come through and will eat about anything, but some of the best baits are Frank Helton’s jigs, live eels, fin baits, and even a big squid ball. The way we fish up here on the Emerald Coast for cobia is sight fishing. If you have a nice sunny day with a south east wind blowing, get your buddies together and go hop in a boat. For more info on nearshore fishing and the best baits to use, stop by the shop and we’ll get you setup.

Offshore: The offshore bite has been great! Everyone I’ve talked with that has been amberjack fishing has been catching good numbers. Bait has been much easier to catch on the inshore wrecks and also in the gulleys in about 100’ of water. Some of the best jack fishing is on the big metal structures, including barges, tugs, etc. The grouper fishing has been good out towards the edges in 150- to 250-ft of water. There has actually been a few blackfin tuna showing up which is a little early, so be prepared when you go offshore with some butterfly jigs or trolling lures.

The Ships Chandler
646 E. Hwy 98
Destin, FL 32541

Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine