Tampa Bay Fishing Report April 2020

Archived in the category: Fishing Reports
Posted by: captainwoody - Comments Off on Tampa Bay Fishing Report April 2020

Snook-Redfish-Trout: For you folks, that haven’t realized it yet we have four seasons in Florida – Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Christmas. But thanks goodness it’s almost summertime and fishing is looking great for April. It’s always nice not having to throw the cast net unless you want to be a gluten for punishment.

We’ve had an excellent last three months catching nice spotted sea trout using shrimp and artificial lures. We had some great days with trout measuring in the low to mid-20-inch range along with a few redfish, bluefish, some pompano, and plenty of sheepsheads.

Snook (Closure Extended Through March 30, 2021) Look for snook can around docks, bridges, mangrove islands, oyster bars, or any other ambush spot structure. You often hear me talk about topwater action well; this is a great month to get an excellent topwater lure punched out of the water by a big snook. It’s also a great time to fish docks and bridge fenders at night. Any good lipped lure tossed at a lighted structure and ripped through the light line will produce everything from snook, redfish, trout, or the occasional grouper.

Expect the trout fishing on any decent grass flat to be healthy through the rest of the summer. Small jig heads with plastic tails or shrimp free-lined or under a popping cork will do the trick. And don’t be surprised if you might pull up a nice pompano off some the edges of the sandy flats.

Redfish Redfish are a staple of the TBA, and you can expect to catch plenty from now right through the summer. Live baits, dead baits or artificial lures, it’s all fun tussling these fighters. Target areas along the flats, edges of grass breaks, mangrove edges, and oyster bars should produce some nice catches.

Sheepshead, Snapper, Grunts, Sea BassFind one of the many rock piles or artificial reefs in TBA, and you’ll have yourself plenty of fish catching fun. These species are in the bay and easy to find. While sheepshead takes more time to clean, they are excellent table fare. When fishing for sheepsheads and others try using natural baits, like fiddler crabs, shrimps, oysters, mussels, and clams.

Mackerel & BluefishIf you are looking for some great light-tackle action, look no further than Tampa Bay. It usually gets full of threadfins, and that means mackerel, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. Drift the bait schools or anchor around markers tossing out white baits or threadfins, and hang on. Shiny silver spoons or fast action artificial lures also do the trick.

Since Trout, Redfish, and Snook closed for another year. And if you have to take a fish home but can’t make yourself stop by Cox’s Seafood Market on Dale Mabry for a deepwater fillet, how about trying this instead.

Spanish mackerel: How about taking home a few mackerel fillets and putting them on the smoker. If you’ve never tried smoked mackerel right out of the smoker, you’re in for a real treat. They are much better than smoked mullet and make tremendous fish spread.  All you need is some garlic salt and the new non-stick aluminum foil. Smoke the fillets on medium heat until they flake; remove, and they’re ready to eat. Eat them while they are warm and the rest. Pull the meat away from the skin, missing the bloodline, and make a fish spread. Or you can vacuum seal the meat and put it in the freezer for later.

Bluefish: Also, don’t forget those delicious bluefish fillets with the bloodline removed. Cut those bad boys into fingers and fry them up in your favorite batter. They go great with hush puppies and coleslaw. Or make up a batch of your favorite taco sides and shut the door.