Florida Gulf Coast Fishing Report – April, 2017


MY FAVORITE MONTH…… April on the west coast of Florida is a special time for saltwater anglers! In my opinion it’s the best month of the year! The cold fronts of February and March that we normally get set the stage for fantastic April fishing. Bait is seemingly everywhere and the fish are alive and hungry! Big snook continue to feed like crazy as we approach the summer spawn. Live pilchards work great as do a variety of artificial lures and flies. Look for deeper cuts along mangrove shorelines or in passes coming from the back country for large schools of hungry snook. The redfish bite in April is usually insane as well! Big schools of both slot and oversized reds seem to appear almost overnight on grass flats all up and down Florida’s west coast. Again, just like the snook that low to mid 70-degree water temp has them in the mood to feed. Live pinfish, pilchards or cut mullet, ladyfish or threadfin herring will all do the trick in April. Usually where you find one redfish in April you’ll find lots of redfish. Flats with Oyster bars, sand holes and good moving water and plenty of large mullet activity are your best bets for steady redfish action. If you have trouble finding redfish, fish the big mullet schools as they will slide right in to big schools of mullet and enjoy the fruits of their friend’s labor. Mullet are bottom feeders and wrestle along the grass kicking up small shrimp and crabs that make easy snacks for the reds. The mullet also offer a comfort zone as there is safety in numbers. Artificial baits that mimic shrimp do very well fished in the mullet as do paddle tail soft plastics. April also brings strong Kingfish and Permit fishing action for the nearshore anglers and the later part of the month kicks off tarpon season although the tarpon may be here early this year with the warmer than normal winter we had.  So, as you can see April brings a lot of smiling faces to anglers all over west central Florida and helps prove to people all over the country why Florida is called the “Fishing Capital of the World” and why for me April is clearly my favorite month of the year!

Catch Capt. Michael Anderson every Saturday morning on News CH8 at 6:30am for the Reel Animals Fishing Show and Saturdays for Reel Animals Saturday on 970WFLA from 6:00am to 8:00am and Sunday mornings on AM620 for the TA Mahoney Co. Reel Animals Radio Show from 7am to 9am or to book a trip call 1-866-Gamefish.