March was a productive fishing month here in NE Florida, despite windy weather conditions. April should be even better with warmer water and the arrival of transitional fish such as jack crevalle, ladyfish, pompano, and spanish mackerel. Also, the big spawning black drum are already here swimming in the deep water of area inlets.
Redfish will be biting really well at the Mayport jetties and deep river this month, with slot size fish mixed in with oversize reds up to 30 or more pounds. They will hit shrimp on jigs near jetty rocks, as well as crab on bottom in deeper water. Speckled trout fishing should continue to improve, with more large fish being caught. Sliding cork rigs with live shrimp are very effective for the trout. Surface lures fished in low light conditions and lipped diving lures and plastics on jigs will also take their share of big trout. Some yellow mouth and silver trout will be mixed in with the specks.
Sheepshead are continuing to bite well on fiddlers and blue crab sections fished over rocks or other structure. We’ve caught several large fish recently. We may see the first beach running cobia this month when the ocean water temperatures get up in the high 60’s. They will be shadowing the migrating manta rays or free swimming along the beach or tide lines. You might also find a tripletail hovering near a crab trap buoy or some other debris, if you know what to look for. They are masters of camouflage.
Sometimes in April large bluefish in the 10-15 lb. range show up at the St. Augustine and Jacksonville jetty tips. They can be caught casting top water lures or live baits tight to the rocks. When the surf conditions are right (meaning clear water and not too rough), whiting and pompano should bite in the surf on fresh shrimp and sand fleas.