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On the water: April fishing could be the best of the year | News, sports, jobs

It’s time for the battle royale. Mary Boltze of Lake Placid, Florida, fishes with Captain Bill Russell at Matlacha Pass with a 24-inch trout.provide photos

If you have to choose a month to go fishing in the waters around Songdo, April will be very difficult. As we transition into spring, coastal waters are warming and fish are starving and moving. We may have a late-season cold front, but the weather is in our favor, with light winds and mild sunny days, and little threat of daily thunderstorms. Also, before the onset of summer rains, nearshore and inshore waters are some of the clearest we see all year.

Anglers will catch some of the biggest bass of the year, with fish over 20 inches long, with several reaching close to 30 inches. Spanish mackerel swims and swarms in our offshore waters, bay channels and just a short distance offshore. Bluefish, ladybugs, jackfish and sharks are often mixed with mackerel.

In Gulf waters, mackerel, usually large, also follows Spanish mackerel. If you want to haul something bigger, throw a large lure to catch a large cobia or shark when you are bitten by a mackerel or other fish. Both are curious and always want a simple meal.

Big sharks are common in our waters, with the potential to hook up with big bulls and lemons offshore, with some pushing 10 feet. In addition, blacktip and spinner sharks roam inshore and off beaches. They can range in height from 3 feet to 6 feet and are one of the toughest bettas in the water, and they often put on impressive aerial performances when hooked.

Tarpon fishing begins this month in southwest Florida. Whether you’re fishing or not, you’re likely to catch a big silver king. They will most likely swallow a live shrimp or small bait. On calm days, look for schools of fish not far from the beach; early morning is the best time to throw small live crabs or Atlantic herring in front of the school. Tarpon populations will increase near shore, access and outside beaches as the month progresses.

After a few months of low winter tide, we experience high (spring) tide during the day. Now is the time to hunt redfish under bush or mangrove shorelines as they take advantage of the higher currents to droop down trees to eradicate their next meal. Fishing a stretch of shoreline during the last hours of the rise and fall on spring tide days will result in redfish activity. On the other end of the spectrum, there will be ultra-low tide mornings this month, which are just the ticket to redfish watching in the shallows. Hit the apartment with the first rays of sunlight for best results.

This may be our best month of the year to chase snooker. If there is one fish in our waters that is easily fascinated, it is snooker. To me, they are without a doubt our prime prey. After you hook a few, you may get snooker bugs. When releasing snooker, or all fish to be released, it is important to get them off the hook quickly and back into the water. It’s even better if you don’t take them out of the water when unhooking. If fishing for live or natural lures, round hooks are a good choice because they prevent deep damage to the set.

Make sure and stay up to date with the fishing rules and seasons in your fishing area as they change frequently. You can visit www.myfwc.com for all current state and federal regulations.

You can go in different fishing directions from inshore to inshore every day rather than covering all the possibilities. If there’s ever a month that doesn’t have enough days to take advantage of all the fishing and boating available in our waters, it’s April. Go out and enjoy!

If you have fishing reports or charter information, please contact the Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-410-8576 (call or text); on the website www.fishpineisland.com; or by email at gcl2fish@live.com .

Have a safe week and good fishing.

A lifelong resident of Matlacha and Pine Island, Captain Bill Russell has spent his life fishing and learning the waters of Pine Island and Southwest Florida and has been a professional fishing guide for the past 23 years.

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