Flats To nearshore report By: Capt. Gary Burch

April should be a continuation of March, good fishing in the Clearwater and Dunedin area.

Water temps started out in the middle 70’s and will make their way to the low 80’s. The water is very clean and bait can be found all over the bay, this is springs perfect storm. I had quite a few anglers catch their first redfish and snook ever so far this spring, along with several slams as well.

The fishing will continue at a high level with all of our targeted species wandering throughout the bay. The trout are feeding on the grass flats near Clearwater and Hurricane passes, we had good numbers of gator trout caught this spring.

Our biggest trout so far measured in at 28 and a quarter inches and very well could be the largest fish caught on the west coast this winter/spring. Most of the trout action was on sardines, but some were caught on shrimp. This should continue through summer, as long as bait continues to saturate the bay.

The redfish have been the hardest fish to figure out this spring. We have caught a fair number of reds so far this season, but they were always on the move.

We fished from back in the mangroves to the shallow flats and even under docks, they were there some days and gone others. The pattern for catching redfish was to keep moving fairly quickly.

Snook started showing up in early March because of our warm winter. Spring is the time of year that they migrate from their winter haunts to the various passes here on the west coast. At first it was just a few and in April, their numbers should vastly increase through May.

Because of the freeze in 2010, our population is still low, and will take years to restore to the pre-freeze levels. Despite this, there are still snook to catch and release.

To target snook use three to five inch sardines free lined in the passes and along the beach. It’s very important to fish for them when the tide is moving strong. We saw a lot of fish in the areas we were fishing but they were not always feeding, it takes a lot of patience and the right tide to nail your snook.

As we move into early summer, look for snook, redfish and trout to be the main targets. With the addition of mackerel, cobia and sharks, the flats and shallows should be very active. Barring any nasty weather, the summer fishing action should continue in the Clearwater and Dunedin fishing areas.

Capt. Gary Burch owns and operates All Catch Charters and specializes in live baits and artificials. He guides inshore, flats and backcountry from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. To reach Capt. Gary for a charter, please call 727 458-6335 or visit his website:


Capt. Gary