April is a transition month for anglers and the fish they pursue, and it’s a great time to seek out the shallowest inshore areas you can find, because that’s where a lot of fish will be. Some of the best fishing this month will be in shallow areas with dark, mud bottoms, both of which combine to make for water that warms up quickly.
A number of factors combine to make this a great time to target backwater creeks and inlets. Days are getting longer, and the shallow water has a good chance to warm up, plus, baitfish and shrimp have moved back inshore. With warmer temperatures and an abundance of baitfish, gamefish move in as well. Redfish, flounder, trout and black drum will all be more active inshore than they have been in months.
By now, redfish will be out of their winter schools, broken up into small groups and singles, enjoying the warmth of the shallow water and feeding heartily after a long winter. Addison Rupert of Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures (843-557-3476) likes to fish Gulp soft plastics under docks in April, and he said anglers shouldn’t shy away from the shallowest of these structures.
“You need to approach as quietly as you can and anchor far enough away so you’re at your maximum casting range. You might not see them at first, but once you make a cast, if you pay attention, you’ll see movement,” said Rupert, who likes to find a dock that has little or no water under it at low tide, especially one near an incoming creek. He camps out in the first two hours of the incoming tide, using a leadhead jig that’s just heavy enough for him to cast easily.
Mark Dickson of Shallow Minded Charters (843- 458-3055) said the flounder bite will be hot this month in shallow waters like Cherry Grove and Coquina Harbor.
“These are usually keeper-sized flounder with no really big fish, but it’s one of the best times of the year for quantity when flounder fishing,” Dickson said.
It’s tough to beat live bait; he fishes it on a Carolina rig, slowly dragging the bottom, and stresses that fishermen should not sit in one spot very long if they aren’t getting bit.
“This time of year, the water warms, and the fish move around a good bit more, and some days they can be tough to find. I believe in moving around a lot if we aren’t getting bites in one spot, and this usually produces more fish,” said Dickson, who really likes to find spots where there is little or no water at all at dead low, and are still shallow at high tide.
Steve Chanilo, who guides out of Murrells Inlet, said this is also a great month for trout.
“This time of year is really similar to the late fall when it comes to trout fishing. You can find trout in some of the shallowest, most backwater creeks of our coast,” said Chanilo (843-651-6603), because after a few months of laying low, specks are aggressive. “The warming trend really does help get these fish active, but we usually have some cold fronts in April that will shut down a lot of inshore fish. That usually isn’t the case with trout. Once the weather starts warming and the trout turn on, they stay on.”
Chanilo said a number of live baits will work in April, especially when fished under popping corks, but anglers looking for some real fun should tie on a topwater MirrOlure. Suspending versions of this bait can also work well.
“If you find a fishing hole but you think the water is too shallow, fish it anyway. People who fish with me are often surprised at the size and numbers of trout we pull out of some really skinny water,” he said.
Black drum fishing heats up this month, too, and Rupert said these fish are most often caught by anglers fishing for redfish.
“It’s really tough to target black drum, but I’ve found that redfish will bite near docks and downed wooden structures like trees. In those exact same spots, black drum will hit the same baits or lures,” he said.