Tampa Bay By: Capt. Woody Gore

As the water temperatures begin to stabilize, the fish get comfortable; the outlook for April is great.

We really didn’t have much of a winter this year; we’ve steadily been catching fish using greenbacks, shrimp and artificial lures. Usually I get to put the net away and it’s nice not having to throw it, but this year we’re still throwing the darn thing because the baits still hanging around.

We had some snook, trout and smaller redfish days, once in a while we’ll get a sheepshead, snapper, grunt or pompano off a rock pile using shrimp. In April, be sure to check out docks, bridges, mangrove islands, oyster bars or any other ambush spot for snook and reds.

You often hear me talk about topwater action; this is a great month to get to experience it firsthand. It’s also a great time to fish docks and bridge fenders at night. Lipped lures tossed at or around lighted structure then ripped through the light line usually produces everything from snook, redfish and trout to the occasional grouper.

On any decent grass flat through the rest of the summer, you can expect the trout fishing to be strong. Jigs with plastic tails or greenbacks and shrimp free-lined or under a popping cork will do the trick. Don’t be surprised if you get a pompano off some sandy edges of the grass flats as well.

Redfish are a staple of the area and you can expect to catch plenty from now through the summer. Targeting areas along the flats, edges of breaks and oyster bars should produce some nice fish.

Aside from artificials and live baits, reds also like cut baits. Cut a pinfish in half, toss it out, put the rod in the rod holder and let it sit on the bottom. Of course there’s always a chance of a stingray, but many times it’s a fighting redfish.

Snapper, sharks, mackerel, bluefish should also begin showing during the month, especially when the large schools of threadfins appear.

In February’s report I indicated that red grouper was closed from Feb 1 – May 31. That was my mistake and I need to correct it. According to the FWC rules red grouper in State Waters are: Open year-round; in Federal Waters are: Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms see FWC (map); “The Edges” closed Jan 1 – Apr 30 To figure out where the 20 fathom line is and The Edges are you need to look at the map. Seems like a lot of work and gas for a couple of fish to me, but that’s the rules.

“Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813-477-3814 Captain Woody Gore is the area’s top outdoor fishing guide. Guiding and fishing the west central Florida areas for over fifty years; he offers world class fishing adventures and a lifetime of memories.

Multi-boat Group Charters With years of organizational experience and access to the areas most experienced captains, Captain Woody can arrange and coordinate any outing or tournament. Just tell him what you need and it’s done.  : WWW.CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM, Email: fishing@captainwoodygore.com or give him a call at 813-477-3814.