April Brings Yellowtail Snapper
April showers bring May flowers….or more like mahi mahi, but we’re talking about April offshore fishing right now.
April brings yellowtail snappers to the edge of the reef and we are starting to catch some bigger ones. They start to school up on the healthy parts of the reef, and not only are they good to eat, but our customers think they’re fun to catch. Some days in April you can see the schools behind the boat which makes fishing more exciting because of how lively they are and the beautiful colors they have.
It almost makes the water look yellow. On a select few calm days, reef fishing for yellowtails can be like fishing in an aquarium because it’s so calm and clear.
Typically we chum them up and sometimes make our own chum, sand and oats mixture that we toss off the stern of the boat as well. We let the chum sit in a mesh bag off the back of the boat to keep a constant chum slick on the surface of the water. When we see the fish coming we free line small cut baits to them on small hooks. Somedays you’re pulling them in one after another and other days it takes a little more work.
Fishing for yellowtail snapper is the kind of fishing that depends on the weather conditions, like the current and the clarity of the water. You want the current going with the wind because otherwise your line would drift under the boat or straight down. Also, yellowtails are easier to catch in dusty water because they can see the lines if it’s too clear. We even sometimes throw handfuls of sand mixed with chum into the water to cloud it up in the hopes of getting more bites.
April is a time of the year where we will see some, what we call, “color changes” which can bring some really spectacular fishing to the Keys. A color change is dirty off-colored water that butts up to the gulf stream, which is a pretty blue water with north current. When the wind blows from the northeast and the color change is butting up to the gulf stream that usually means look out for sailfish, mahi mahi, cobia and bonitos swimming along the change. We like to use live bait along the color change or even keep an eye out for some fish on the surface that we can pitch a bait to.
Color changes are something we always look for this time of year.
You also cannot rule out sailfishing during the month of April. They won’t be consistent everyday, but there are always a few great sailfishing days. And you know, they are my favorite.
On some of the nicer weather days it’s not a bad idea to fish the hump as well. Some blackfin tuna can be found hanging out on the surface and some big amberjacks on the bottom.
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