Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor Grassflats2@yahoo.com
Fishing report April 2023
It’s always the best time of the year…late spring, after the chill and before the heat, no afternoon thunderstorms, and no floating grass yet. And as always, April was a great month. Lots of great weather and good tides helped fill the coolers and the Sea Hag board this month. The migration of the pelagic species (kingfish, Spanish mackerel) has begun as the fish head north, and the migrating cobia are on the flats…. giant ones. Sheepshead season ended but not until we took home lots of tasty fillets. Big amberjack and red grouper made up most of the offshore action.
Here are some of the fine catches that came in this month to the Sea Hag docks:
Fishing Forecast May 2023
Things will continue to be hot on the flats and nearshore. Redfish have been schooling well in shallow water with lots of single fish around as well. Trout are moving from the deeper flats in 5 feet of water onto the mixed bottom shallower flats as the pinfish get larger. As always, drift mixed sand and grass flats in from 3 to 6 feet of water, always casting to the sandy spots where trout lay in ambush. This is the time of year I love to fish topwaters, but for trout, jigs with or without Gulp shrimp, or popping cork rigs with jigs or live shrimp will provide lots of action. For some hot action, find migrating whitebait schools around some of the nearshore bars….9 Mile Bank, Little Bank, Doghead…and troll with jigs or small spoons until you locate some Spanish mackerel or bluefish. If you really want to keep the kids busy, then throw a chum block over the side and anchor up. You’ll attract not only lots of Spanish, but cobia, blue runners, ladyfish…while we don’t do much flyfishing in our area, this is the time to put a small wire tippit on your 8 weight and fish that chum line. And without a fly rod, light tackle will provide lots of fun. While some people don’t like mackerel (or kingfish for that matter), marinated fresh in Italian dressing and chargrilled is fine eating. Offshore, fish mid-depth structure for cobia or kingfish with live pinfish or dead sardines on the bottom, and hope for a red grouper to come along (gags are only legal September through Nov. 10th this year). There are several tournaments on the docket: The Optimist Club Tournament on May 6, the Fishing for Vision tournament on May 20th, and the CCA STAR Tournament for all of Florida begins on May 29th and runs until September 4th. For more information about any of these tournaments, call the Sea Hag Ship’s Store at (352)498-3008. May will be another fantastic month…moderate temperatures, no floating grass yet, few afternoon storms….it’s one of the best months to fish the Big Bend.
But the most important thing to do this month is planning for scallop season. This year’s season is open from June 15th to Labor Day. But if you know the Hatch, accommodations, rental boats and guides fill up way in advance, so don’t delay making those plans now. We’ve already seen plenty of scallops in the shallow water so we’re looking forward to another fantastic season like last year. Come see us….this will be a great month!