April Fishing in Tampa Bay

Spring is in the air and the fish are enjoying the weather as much as we are. March brought some warmer than normal weather, and I loved every bit of it. The white bait moved in and with it followed the spanish mackerel. The Trout bite continues to be off the hook and will stays that way through this month. Some snook (not like the old days) have poked their heads out and are in their normal spring spots. I’m still waiting for the redfish bite to turn on in our region. Smaller ones are being caught, but I’m looking for some upper slot fish.Tampa fishing guide


Snook season remains closed until September but if you decide to target them (I prefer not to), please handle each fish with extreme care. Some fish have started to show up in their springtime areas, but the numbers are not what they used to be. Although the numbers are down, we have been seeing some good fish and it has been encouraging. I suggest we try our best to leave these fish be for a while and let them get through the spawning season with as little stress as possible. The FWC will revisit the issue in September whether to reopen season.


The trout fishing has been off the hook all winter and should continue right into spring. We are starting to see some bigger fish move into some of the grass flats around Cockroach Bay and Joe Island. Top water plug early in the morning is some of the most fun action you can have. Zara Super Spook in a chartreuse or bone color is my choice. With a top water plug, you can cover plenty of ground and work as many schools of mullet as you can find. You may also run into a redfish or snook with this technique. As the sun comes up, I like to switch to a soft plastic. I like the Berkley Gulp! jerk shad rigged with a Daiichi Butt Dragger weedless hook. Colors I like are new penny and electric chicken. Trout are a good species to experiment with. Try different colors and see what works best for you.


The redfish bite continues to stump me. We are running into plenty of small fish in the 14”-16” range but haven’t seen the big push of the upper slot fish make their way into our region. The key here is to be persistent. Areas around Simmons Park and Joe Island should be holding fish. On the higher tides, fish the mangroves, oyster bars, and schools of mullet. On the lower tides, fish pot holes, nature channels, and the edges of the flats. Cut bait is hard for a redfish to turn down. The only downside is you can’t cover much ground. Soft plastic rigged weedless will do the trick. You cover a lot of ground and can easily work the pot holes and schools of mullet. D.O.A makes a great soft plastic. The CAL Shad comes in a wide variety of colors.

Best of the Rest

The warmer temperatures have brought plenty of spanish mackerel. Most of the artificial reefs, ship channels, and markers will hold fish. Plenty of whitebait is a must to keep the fish interested. Not far behind are the bigger cousins, king mackerel. The skyway will hold plenty of bait so the kingfish will be around looking for an easy meal. Look for early season Tarpon to show up around the bridges. It getting that time of year and we should start to see the big push of migrating fish from the south.

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