April is a great time to be getting out on the water as you have the weather cooling and the summer northerlies easing which is the very beginning of glassed out afternoons.
Last issue I wrote about chasing longtails, and I can safely say that in the last month we have had one of the best longtail seasons that we have had in a long time. I am putting this down to the lack of rain as well as the amount of bait that is in the bay at the moment. The bait that is around is not just the standard 5-7cm size which you normally get around April; there’s a lot of larger sized bait like garfish and small flying fish. I have never seen them in the southern bay before.
With there being so much bait as well as school after school of tuna, this can only mean that sharks will sooner rather than later find their way to the area. They have been a big problem in certain areas of the bay so it is best to test the waters by throwing a plastic around for a little while and see if you can land a fish without it getting it taken. If there are no sharks around I would really recommend throwing stick baits for tuna. The visual aspect of fishing with them is definitely worth it.
April is also a great month for targeting bread and butter species in the bay. It will be about the time that the smaller snapper begin to school up, so it will be worth looking over the Peel artificials. If the squire are schooled up over these areas, targeting them with light jigheads is they way to go – anything from a 1/6oz to a 1/4oz jighead depending on the tidal flow and wind around on the day. The reason I suggest using such light jigheads is because when squire are schooled up it is very rare that they are schooled right down on the bottom. For that reason you want your plastic to drift down slowly through the school.
The size of the plastic can also make the difference between taking one fish home for a feed and taking your bag limit home. Sometimes it pays to have two rods rigged, one with a 3” plastic and another with a 5” plastic rigged. This allows you to have a drift or two over the school with a smaller plastic, and if nothing takes a liking to it you don’t have to assume the fish are shut down. A couple of drifts with a bigger plastic may well do the trick. It all depends on the size of the bait that the fish are feeding on.
Over these same areas during April you will begin to find a few mulloway. I know that no one will be complaining if they’re hooked up to a mulloway as bycatch! The jew will still hit the 3” size plastics; you don't need to necessarily use big plastics for these guys. Like the squire, it just depends on what size bait they are feeding on.
I hope you all have a great break over Easter and spend some quality time with the family, and if the weather allows I hope you can get out on the water to get onto a few fish. Until next month.Reads: 700