St. Joe Bay / Indian Pass – April 2020

Matt Cantine, from Tennessee, here with his personal best 26-inch speckled trout.
Matt Cantine, from Tennessee, here with his personal best 26-inch speckled trout.

April, for me and many other charter captains, can be one of the best months of the year for fishing. It’s the beginning of the transition from winter to spring fishing and a warming trend for water temps. As the water temps rise, many species of fish begin to show up along the beaches and in the bays of Northwest Florida. Pompano, cobia, jacks and Spanish mackerel are just a few of those species that can be targeted along the beach this month. Redfish, big speckled trout, and flounder will be active in the bays and estuaries.

Pompano, jacks and cobia can be site-fished along the beaches on sunny, calm days. I like using small, 1/4 oz. pompano jigs in yellow and pink colors. They tend to follow the troughs in and near the sandbars just off the beach. As for the cobia and jacks, they tend to run a little further off the beach anywhere from 100 yards or so, up to a mile, depending on tides and color changes in the water. For them, I like throwing large soft plastics, like the Slayer Inc Pearl and Houdini paddle tails in the Grande size.

April is also great for the trout bite in the bays. The larger, female trout usually begin showing up following the large schools of bait. Top-water plugs and hard plastic twitch baits work great this time of year. I prefer the Rapala Skitterwalks on top, and the Rapala Shadow Rap shad for subsurface baits. Find the bait schools near the grass flats in 2-4 feet and the trout should be around them.

Saltwater Obsessions