Editor’s Note: Captain Troy Frady of the “Distraction” charter boat docked at Zeke’s Landing Marina is excited about fishing in April.
Fishing should be picking up this month. The water temperature will rise to 68 and 70 degrees and bring in the Spanish mackerel and more cobia than we’ve seen in March. Usually, by the first of April, the peak cobia run will begin, and the cobia fishing will be productive until the end of April.
White snapper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish and redfish will move closer in to shore as the water warms-up, which cuts down on the run time for the charter-boat fishermen and the time anglers expend to reach the fish. We will start seeing white and vermilion snapper, triggerfish and redfish within 12 to 15 miles of Perdido Pass this month.
If the water continues to warm-up through April, the fish will move even closer to the beach. When the water temperature hits 70 to 72 degrees, the big migration of king mackerel will begin as they follow the bait into that more-shallow water.
you can take a 10- or a 12-hour trip to catch the bigger amberjacks and fish 30- to 35-miles offshore in 180- to 200-foot-deep water. Too, grouper season opens in April, allowing anglers to fish for red and gag grouper and scamp.
On big public wrecks, you’ll find plenty of mangrove snapper. Mangrove snapper like to hold on older established reefs, and they’re a lot of fun to catch. Sometimes we can lure those fish right up to the water’s surface. Mangrove snapper usually will hold in water 60- to 120-foot-deep. Chum these mangrove snapper to get them right on top of the water. The largest mangrove snapper we caught last year weighed 15.4 pounds – one pound less than the state record. The average mangrove snapper generally weigh 1-1/2- to 2-pounds each.
This month you can catch plenty of Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper. The current determines how many mangrove snapper you’ll catch. If the current’s not running hard, and we can chum them up, we can start catching them as soon as we stop the boat. W
e chum with squid and fish with 20-pound-test monofilament line with no leader and very little or no lead, so we can let the bait just drift down. The mangrove snapper is a finicky eater and very smart. That’s why we hide the hooks in the bait.
Triggerfish have been hard to come by in recent years. However, the length limit just has been raised, and you only can keep triggerfish 14-inches long from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail. We’re starting to see some nice triggerfish caught right now. We can expect the average triggerfish size to be larger in the coming years due to this regulation. Triggerfish are easy to catch, fishing with two hooks at a time, baiting with squid and using a 6- to an 8-ounce lead. We usually fish for triggers up off the bottom.
If you’re coming for cobia, your best weather conditions are a southeast wind, 1- to 2-foot-high seas and a bright day with plenty of sunshine to see the cobia better. Most cobia fishermen go
out around 9:00 and 10:00 am to have the sun at their backs. On a 6-hour trip we’ll often see two or three cobia, and we can catch one per person. However, we can catch, release and tag cobia all day long.
To learn more about fishing in April with Troy Frady, visit www.distractioncharters.com
, or call 251-975-8111. Frady specializes in light-tackle fishing on 6-hour trips for families. He offers a 4-hour introductory fishing trip. For more-serious fishermen, he offers 8-, 10-, and 12-hour trips.