2017-04-01 / Fish Stories

More daylight leads to warmer sea temps

Everyone has spring break fever along the coast and spring brings in longer days and warmer temperatures. More daylight hours equate to warmer sea temperatures, and that is the recipe for some great fishing.

We are very lucky to have the best of both fishing worlds here along the panhandle. The large inland bays and sounds produce a variety of species of fish for the inshore angler. Then there’s the offshore and near-shore fishing that produces an even greater number of species of fish.

Regardless of the time of year, there is always something to fish for in this area. There are multiple public piers and bridges to fish from as well as vast areas to wade fish. Of course, you may hire a local guide or charter boat to get out to the fishing grounds too.

During April, the most popular inshore species is the Sheepshead. The Sheepshead is spawning the entire month of April. During this time they will school up, in and around the Pensacola Pass.

Dennis Lehman with a nice Red Grouper caught aboard the Big Zulu 2 with Capt. Jerry Andrews Dennis Lehman with a nice Red Grouper caught aboard the Big Zulu 2 with Capt. Jerry Andrews These fish love structure, so check out the pier pilings, rock jetties and submerged rock piles in the pass. A light-spinning outfit with a live shrimp will produce a tasty dinner.

Just around the corner and out in the gulf, the Cobia is also making their annual spawning migration. These fish can exceed 100lbs in weight and resemble a large catfish swimming on the surface.

They will be traveling from east to west and will be within one mile of shore. The most common way to fish for Cobia is from a boat with a tower. Cobia fishing is much like deer hunting.

Boats will be traveling up and down the coast sight-fishing for these monsters, as crews search from the tower. Many times these fish can be spotted hanging under a slow-moving ray or turtle. They love things that cast a shadow and can also be found around buoys.

A 30lbs class spinning rig with a live bait will produce a fight of a lifetime and some very good eating as well.

Bottom fishing, further offshore, is also heating up with these warmer temperatures. There are nearly ten different species of snapper caught in our waters, along with grouper, triggerfish and amberjack.

April is the opening of all shallow water groupers for the rest of the year, excluding Gag grouper. They will open June 1.

The most sought-after of all the groupers is the Scamp. These fish can be found on natural bottom and artificial reefs in waters of 120 feet to 300 feet. They will eat most anything, but live bait is the ticket for a guaranteed bite.

Also, on the same bottom structure, the Red Grouper can be found. They too, enjoy live bait, but personally I have caught more on a larger piece of cut bait than live.

Our staple snapper for April is the Vermilion Snapper. These snapper are found on most any public wreck or natural bottom structures. They can be found in depths of 60 feet to 350 feet. Of course, the deeper you go, the bigger they grow.

The daily bag limit is 10 per person, and it’s not hard to reach a limit on a half-day trip.

Maybe a fishing trip is still on your bucket list. If so, give us a call or check us out at www.entertainercharter.com and let us hook you up. As we always say aboard the Entertainer, “may the good fishing be yours!”

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