Fernandina – April Fishing Report
Author: Terry D. Lacoss
Amelia Island Fishing Report
Largemouth bass will be spawning in Lofton, Boggy, Thomas’ and the St. Mary’s rivers just before and right on the full moon which arrives on April 19th. While many of Florida lakes and rivers have already experienced a major spawn, the deep northeast Florida river systems are typically a month late.
Look for a late afternoon flood tide when the water temperatures are warmest, and the bass beds are fully covered with a flooding tide to produce freshwater bass weighing over the ten-pound mark. Also, shallow sloughs located off the main channel are prime spawning waters.
Working a gold colored #11 Rapala slowly on the surface and tight to the shoreline is key when tempting giant bass to smack your plug when protecting their spawning bed. Dark colored weightless plastic warms are also effective when fished slowly along the river edges and sloughs.
When all else fails, float a wild shiner under a small float, which is the number one fishing tactic for taking Northeast Florida largemouth bass. Freshwater fishermen may have a difficult time purchasing wild shiners, however chumming a shallow lake with fish pellets then tossing a cast net will produce enough wild shiners for a long day of bass fishing.
When fishing with wild shiners twenty-pound fishing line and heavier is a must. A #1 kahle hook is attached to the business end of your fishing line with a small amount of super glue added to the knot. Handle you wild shiner with wet hands while barbing the shiner from the bottom of the mouth right out through the top of the head. A small float is attached to the main line just high enough to keep the live bait from snagging the bottom. When a bass strikes the shiner, it will typically swallow the live bait head first. Reel in the slack fishing line and set the hook firmly with a landing net handy for capturing that freshwater catch of a lifetime!
Be sure and take a photo of your trophy catch while measuring and recording the length and width. A catch and release mount will allow your catch to produce many future bass generations!
Black drum fishing will also be in full swing during the month of April along the beaches, inlets and rivers of Amelia Island. Stella Moore landed an all tackle Florida IGFA world record black drum on March 28th, 1957. Her big fish weighed 93-pounds, Stella only weighed 89-pounds! Eventually her record was topped, but her catch still holds the women’s 50-pound line class record.
David Cartwright holds the Florida all tackle black drum record with his 96-pound black drum he landed on April 12, 2001. Cartwright was night fishing just off from “Main Beach” with a chunk of blue crab fished on the bottom when he made his historic catch!
Redfish will be tailing in the backwaters during the full moon in April as well where shallow bays have numerous shell beds and small feeder creeks. Fishing with a Berkeley Gulp crab, or fly casting with a crab pattern fly is key when wading the flooding marshes. Be sure and be on foot to wade at least one hour before the tide is scheduled to flood.
Offshore live bait trolling will improve during the middle of April for fast swimming king mackerel, cobia, Spanish mackerel, barracuda at many of the artificial reefs and live bottoms. Typically, FB, HH and the Amberjack Hole will produce the best action during the month of April.
Slow trolling with live cigar minnows, mullet, or menhaden is key when targeting fast swimming offshore striking gamefish.
Bottom fishing should be excellent at FB,FA and KBY reefs for cobia, black sea bass, triggerfish, flounder and sheephead. Red snapper and grouper will be out of season. Fish dead on the bottom with fresh local squid, cut baits, or live cigar minnows.
For more fishing and charter information call 904-261-2870, or visit ameliaangler.com.