Mixed bag opportunities are plentiful here, off the Nature Coast, for the month of April. This is one of our prime months for fishing, and just about every species we have to offer is a possibility. From trout, red fish, mackerel, tripletail, cobia, grouper, etc. It’s time to go fishing!
Cobia will be making an appearance as April comes around. Keep and eye out when cruising the flats and running by channel markers. I always like to have a stout spinning rod accessible, rigged with a large soft plastic jerk bait, for when a cobia is seen. Lead the cobia by a couple feet, and began aggressively twitching the bait. Be ready for the strike. This is sight fishing at its finest.
Our most popular inshore species, the speckled trout, can be found in the shallow hard bottom areas, near shore rock piles, and spoil islands. For targeting the shallow locations such as rock flats and oyster bars, I have great success with DOA soft plastic glow colored jerks baits; deadly combo shrimp cork rigs and MirrOlure MirrOdines. The near shore rock piles between Homosassa and Crystal River, in 5 to 8 feet of water, will be holding schools of trout as well. 1/8th oz jig heads rigged with MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and DOA cal shad tail soft plastics are a recipe for success. Fish around the rock piles and any cast could bring trout, sea bass, flounder, grouper, etc. It’s really fun fishing.
Red fish can be scattered form the outside points to the backcountry. It’s best to cover some water until you start seeing fish, as opposed to anchoring up and point fishing. Once fish are located, there will be more around and you will likely be in the zone. Spoons, jerk baits and select sized live shrimp will keep the rod bent.
Gag grouper season is still closed for taking a fish home for the table. However, there’s so many around, it’s fun to catch, take some pictures and release, and maybe find that new secret spot. Red grouper are another option while running offshore, and I suggest targeting the 60 to 70 foot depth range. Remember, red grouper prefer more live bottom, lower profile structures, as opposed to gag grouper which seem to concentrate on high relief locations. Frozen baits, such as threadfin herring and sardines are good to get bite going, then send down the lively ones. Also, king fish will be migrating through the area as well. While offshore, troll Yo-zuri crystal minnows or mag minnows rigged with a foot of wire leader around your grouper locations. Watch for sky rocketing kings, and you’ll know you’re in the right area.
As always, feel fee to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good fishing!