Daylight savings time is full effect this month so be sure to take advantage of the extra sunlight we have in the late afternoons! During April we should have delightful springtime weather with winds blowing out of the East/South East majority of the time. Offshore, when we have a persistent easterly wind blowing, the pelagics will be pushed closer to shore looking for bait stacking up along rips/edges. Trolling artificial and dead bait between 175-300’ will produce dolphin, bonito, blackfin and the occasional wahoo. Bonitos and blackfins show up again in our waters this month. When targeting blackfins, you can troll small feathers and squid pups. TIP: Be sure to set your spread as far away from your boat as possible. Let the line out until you think it’s far enough and then let the line out some more! The further the baits are away from your boat the better. Blackfins are spooked easily by the roar of your engine, so fish wisely. Blackfin also feed in lowlight conditions and love small live bait. Try chumming with cut sardines to bring these fish to your boat.
A lot of cobia should be caught this month as well, primarily in 90-150’ of water. Cobia are hanging around the wrecks and following the sharks. Throw out a chum bag out to bring the excitement and hungry fish to your boat. Drift back dead sardines on a triple hook rigs or a cobia jig. If you do get tight on a fish using this method, reel as fast as possible to keep your catch away from the sharks. When fishing the deep water wrecks, jigging will produce big amberjacks, pompano, bonito and mutton snapper. The bottom fish also love to eat live bait such as runners and goggle eyes.
Inshore, this is the month to catch yourself a big snook! This time of year snook will invade the bridges and inlets and will eat just about anything thrown at them. At night, fish the bridges with flair hawk jigs, large swimbaits or topwater lures. The live bait of choice this month will be mullet. Fish the bridges, inlets and seawalls at first light or at night during the beginning of the outgoing tide or the last of the incoming tide. Tarpon will be showing up around the Palm Beach inlet and mangrove areas feeding on crabs and shrimp. The best bait for targeting the silver king will be live shrimp, lip divers and jerk bait. I caught and released my first tarpon ever last month trolling a lip diver in the ICW as the sun was setting. The tarpon put on quite the show for me, with at least a dozen acrobatic jumps! After 20 minutes of fighting, the silver king was boat side; we cut the hooks and released her unharmed. The experience was incredible and I can’t wait to until I have the opportunity to catch another one!
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Darcie is a contributing writer for Coastal Angler Magazine since 2013. She writes monthly fishing forecast/reports about her adventures out of Palm Beach, Florida!