We get that question a lot and I love it. I usually tell people that it is hard to predict exactly what we will be catching because April is good for just about anything. We could be on the reef catching snappers and king mackerels or we could be offshore catching tunas and maybe some mahi, and there may also be some great sailfishing going on in April as well. It all just depends on the conditions.
The reef fishing usually gets good for some yellowtail snappers. As long as we don’t get a late cold front, the water should warm up a few degrees and the snappers should start moving towards the edge of the reef in big schools. With some chum and a good flow of current behind the boat, it usually makes for some great fishing.
The kingfish should be hanging around the reef, as well as around some of the wrecks just offshore of the reef. Some live cigar minnows or pilchards should get these guys going.
April can bring blackfin tuna to some of the humps. These are a great fish to target. They pull hard and taste great. There are a variety of ways that we target them. Sometimes we troll using some artificial lures way back in the spread, or we use some butterfly jigs. This can be a lot of work with all the jigging involved, but, when they are biting, it’s great fun. At times, if we can get some live pilchards, we will load the wells as full as we can and do some live bait chumming for them. We throw lots of free bait back behind the boat till we get the tunas fired up and eating them, and then we throw our hooked bait. We then pray no sharks eat them before we land them.
Also at the humps in April, you should be able to drop a big bait on a big rod to the bottom and catch an amberjack or two. The humps, being offshore, puts you in possible mahi territory and, although April can be a little early for them, we sometimes get lucky. Just all depends on our weather.
Sailfishing has usually slowed down by April for us here in Islamorada, but sometimes the stars align and we get a current edge just off the edge of the reef and we can see some great sailfishing. For this to work, we need an easterly wind and a hard northeast Gulfstream current. When this happens, the sailfish can start to surf down the waves. We call this a “tailing condition” because you can see the sailfish tails sticking out of the water as they surf down the waves.
We are looking forward to some great fishing and having some fun with new and old charter guests again this season!
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