By Jason Prieto

Being a full time guide for almost 12 years you tend to specialize in certain species around certain months of the year. For example, wintertime is a great time to bottom fish for Sheepshead and fish the flats for Trout.

During March, I can’t think of anything I catch more than Snook. May and June has to be Tarpon, I think you get the point. April is an entirely different animal. It is a month that both springs are happening but summer fishing starts to also develop. It’s a month you can catch just about everything. It’s a month that you won’t get too hot but rarely do we get cold fronts to make us cold. It’s the perfect month to fish.

Since I primarily fish inshore I would have to start with snook. Snook have a special spot with me as they are by far my favorite fish to target. Look for big schools of fish to start staging on the outer flats as they get closer to the summer spawn. This means the flats with good tidal flow and grass will be the hot areas to look. Fishing the stronger tides of the month is always a good option no matter what time of year it is. I like to shift from using free lined baits to pulling the Cajun Thunder Back Bay floats. These floats will create a bite on those slower days by simply using the popping technique. The noise created by the floats really seems to drive Snook crazy.

Tarpon start to move into the areas as well. It’s a bit early but with some planning and patience you could get the Silver King early. Tarpon are going to be holding around the bridges that are throughout the bay. There are a bunch of different methods that will produce fish, some of my favorite ways is using Threadfin hearing and drifting the stalls through the bridge or free spooling the baits. Blue and pass crabs are also great baits if you can get your hands on them. Tarpon fishing has grown in popularity over the past five years and as we approach the season, I urge everyone to take some time to be properly educated. It makes it easier if we all work together when fishing school both at the bridges and on the beaches. I see a lot of people on the water that just don’t know the correct way to fish the schools and they end up spooking the fish, which messes fishing for everyone. Best way to learn is to get out with an accomplished Tarpon guide.