April Fishing Report – Pensacola Florida – 2016

 In Fishing Reports

April Fishing Report – Pensacola Florida – 2016

March is over and April has begun, time for my monthly fishing report from Pensacola, Florida. March was riddled with thunder storms, tornadoes, and a mean neap tide. The bite was slow but steady. We had a steady Sheepshead bite, not great, just steady. The Triggerfish have been good when you can find them. Lets pray April stacks up to be better than March. Here is my fishing report and projections for the month of April.


Grass Flats:


Pensacola Bay Redfish with Fish Happens Charters and Captain Chris Williams.

April is typically a great month for inshore fishing in Pensacola, Florida. The water temps make for excellent Speckled Trout and Redfish fishing. The water temps are usually in the 70’s and the big Trout are moving up on the flats from deep water chasing the spring spawn of Pinfish and Mullet. You are going to want to work a wide range of water from roughly 12 feet of water all the way up to about 2 feet of water. Spend some time driving around looking for bait, you find the bait and you will find the fish. Target deep docks, channels, and if you have the latest Navionics card in your Raymarine GPS use it to find contour lines and breaks. The fish will typically be around those in some fashion. Remember to tie these on with real light Seaguar Fluorocarbon leaders, I prefer at least 3 feet of leader tied directly to the line. Also, use as small of a jig head or weight as possible, the slower you work the bait the better.

Ideal Tackle:

Bridges and Deep Water Structure:

April is typically a sure thing when fishing deep water structure such as bridges, jetties, and any real concrete structure. The Sheepshead, Redfish, and Black Drum are moving in fast. The Sheepshead are moving into the deep water and passes to spawn while the Redfish and Black Drum are just following the heard of Sheepshead looking for a meal since they seat a lot of the same food. Early in the month, I would target these fish in shallower areas, sub 20′ deep, with a mass of old structure containing barnacles. As the month progresses these fish will be better found in deep water, 40-70′ deep, on the same type of structure. You will need a boat for this as a good GPS and bottom machine, fish finder, will be the key to success. Your typical setup is a carolina rig with the lightest weight possible to keep your live shrimp or fiddler crab on the bottom near the structure. Remember your regulations on what fish can be kept and the size limits, they can be found on the FWC website HERE.


Cobia caught with Fish Happens Charters in Pensacola, FL

Here is a Cobia caught recently with Fish Happens Charters.

The offshore bite should be hot. The Cobia or Ling as they are more commonly called are moving in and a blast to catch. They can be found relatively close to shore and are typically caught on a boat but can be caught on the long fishing piers on the gulf side. Cobia fishing via boat requires some skill and a whole lot of luck. To truly be successful, you will need a boat with a big aluminum tower to aid in sight fishing them. These fish will be coming down the beach riding the surf and you will need to be up high to spot them and be able to throw a bait in front of them. We usually use big Cobia jigs or live Eels and live Pinfish. If your not really equipped to target these big Cobia, you can always tuck in close to the beach and follow the Pompano and Spanish Mackerel schools. You don’t even need a boat to fish for these. The basics would be surf fishing with Sand Fleas, Fiddler Crabs, and live Shrimp. The same baits apply when fishing from a boat, but you will be drifting down the beach casting into the surf and the breaks where the sandbars fall into deep water. You can also venture farther offshore and do some Trigger fishing and Black Snapper fishing. Either way, when the weather is right, you can never go wrong heading offshore to bring home dinner.

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Here is a short collection of charter photos from March:

Captain Chris
Born in Pensacola, Florida in 1983, Captain Chris cut his fishing teeth on the bays and backwaters of Pensacola Bay as well as the Alabama and Tensaw River System in south Alabama. When he wasn’t on the baseball diamond he was at home casting rubber plugs into buckets in his parents back yard. Little did he know that all this practice and preparation would undoubtedly prepare him for the career as a Professional Angler. Captain Chris graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University Of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida in 2007. Which he spent much of his early 20′s as a computer programmer while spending all his time and vacation chasing a dream of a Professional Tournament Angler and starting the ultra popular fishing guide service Fish Happens Outdoors based in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. After much success in local and regional tournaments throughout the early 2000’s, he decided to jump into the world of professional tournament fishing and made a name for himself on the IFA Redfish Tour and the Louisiana Saltwater Series from 2007 to 2010. Finally in 2010 he saw his chance to change careers and pursue a dream. Captain Chris was invited to join the ultra exclusive invitation only tour, the become a full time pro and joined the Academy Sports & Outdoors Professional Redfish Series which was filmed specifically for air on the Sportsman’s Channel. Having success with several top 15 and a top 10 appearances in his rookie year. Captain Chris is always evolving as an angler and business owner, looking to improve his knowledge and hone his angling skills. You can always find him stalking the flats in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida or burning up the interstates on the tournament trail.
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