April has finally arrived. With that being said, most of our migratory species are showing up in greater numbers, such as cobia, pompano, Spanish Mackeral, and jack crevalle to name few. Choctawhatchee Bay will be packing great numbers of speckled trout, and the redfish will be schooling up on shallow water flats. April is definitely a great month to fish.
As we progress through April more and more cobia will start being caught as the bulk of the migration starts moving through. If you don’t know already, it helps to have a few different baits ready to throw to a cobia. Cobia at times seem to eat anything you throw at them and other times you need to throw everything you have at them or harass them constantly to get them to take. Every cobia fisherman should have a cobia jig ready, live eel, or a good sized live bait, such as a ruby lip grunt, mullet, or pinfish etc. Mixing it up will definitely help you when you have a fish that won’t take the first offering and you have another ready to throw.
By now pompano are being caught up and down the coast in good numbers. Catching a pompano on light tackle is an absolute blast. When you cast out a pompano jig and you hook up the fight doesn’t get much better than that. The head shakes and blistering runs they make are enough to keep you going back for more. If your not throwing artificial for pompano I recommend raking your own sand fleas for live bait. If you want t take the lazier approach, try cut pieces of fresh shrimp. A 9-11 foot beach rod is great for launching your 2 hook pompano rigs out to the second sandbar. The longer beach rods work great, but are not always a necessity. You can catch plenty of pompano on shorter rods with live or artificial bait.
Spanish Mackeral will be schooled up off the beaches and in the bay. Mackeral tree rigs are a popular way to catch multiple fish at a time when trolling. So are small feathers and spoons. Bubble rigs and Gotchas are a pier fisherman favorites when targeting spanish mackeral. A bubble rig is rigged on the line with 2 feet or so of leader tied to a jig. Then work at a fast pace across the surface to entice a bite. Gotchas are heavy and are worked at face pace while jigging erratically. If you like to fly fish, spanish mackeral can be a lot of fun with multiple shots on fly and fast runs when hooked.