Where to Fish in April

Find the best spots to find your favorite species in April.

The Salt Water Sportsman editors list the best two locations to go in April for your favorite saltwater species, plus notes for each location about why the bite there is hot.

Pacific Blue Marlin

Pacific blue marlin
Pacific blue marlinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Costa Rica
Second choice: Ecuador

The action remains consistent around offshore FADs and seamounts off Costa Rica's Pacific coast, tempting some crews to run nearly 150 miles from Los Sueños to reach forage- and marlin-rich waters along the edge of the Humboldt Current. Ecuador’s Marlin Boulevard, a productive swath that runs past Salinas, Isla de la Plata and Manta, is hot and cold but should yield some big girls.

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Dominican Republic
Second choice: Bahamas

The peak of blue marlin season is still six weeks away, but small blues in the 150- to 250-pound range show up in La Mona Passage this month, and the action steadily comes closer to the Dominican coast as water temps rise and fish numbers increase. In the Bahamas, the marlin bite spreads from the edge of the Gulf Stream near Bimini to waters off Marsh Harbour and Treasure and Guana cays.

Black Marlin

black marlin
Black marlinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Australia
Second choice: Ecuador

Down Under, the shallow-water action with juvenile blacks in Gold Coast wanes, but medium-size fish in the 150- to 250-pound range become a more reliable option off Port Stephens this month. April is synonymous with warm waters and good numbers of black marlin off Ecuador’s Esmeraldas and San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. And many of the fish on the prowl are husky females of 500 pounds or more.

White Marlin

White marlin
White marlinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Dominican Republic
Second choice: Bermuda

April is when the white marlin fishing explodes off the DR’s eastern shores. Expect boats out of Marina Cap Cana to fly an increasing number of release flags as the month winds down. With water temperatures in the 70s, whites pass near Bermuda during their annual migration from the eastern Caribbean, staging in the region for a stint to forage and regain their strength before moving on.

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish
Atlantic Sailfish
Atlantic sailfishIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico
Second choice: Florida

With hordes of hungry sails foraging off Isla Mujeres and Cancun, anglers fishing the Yucatan Channel enjoy fast action. Rigged ballyhoo do the job, but spending a little time making bait to fish liveys is usually rewarded with additional hookups. Spring sailfishing is also hot in South Florida, where boats live-baiting from Stuart through the Keys find multiple takers on a regular basis.

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfishIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Guatemala
Second choice: Costa Rica

Sailfishing in Guatemala is muy buena a this month as game boats out of Iztapa and neighboring Puerto Quetzal get 20 or more daily shots at fish. The facts that waters are often calm and many of the hookups take place close behind the transom make things even better. In Costa Rica the hot bite expands northward, so the fleets out of Tamarindo and Flamingo get in on the action.

Striped Marlin

striped marlin
Striped marlinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico
Second choice: Ecuador

The fishing off Cabo San Lucas is in midseason form, with multiple-release days the norm rather than the exception. In Ecuador, April brings a spike in the number of stripes patrolling the Rosa Blanca and Española banks in the Galapagos, where having live sardines for bait is often the difference between a decent day or an unforgettable one with a dozen or more catches.

Wahoo

Wahoo
WahooIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda
Second choice: Florida

The spring wahoo run is in full swing in Bermuda. These fish migrating northward, usually smaller (mostly 30 to 40 pounds) and more widespread, tend to stack up closer to shore, all around the island. Wahoo fishing heats up in northeast Florida as a ledge 50 miles off St. Augustine — known to hold plenty of striped torpedoes and produce specimens as large as 80 pounds — comes alive this month.

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin tunaIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico
Second choice: Ecuador

The offshore banks off the Baja Peninsula teem with supersize yellowfins this time of year, many exceeding 200 pounds, and some 100-pounders will intercept baits intended for billfish much closer to the coast. In Ecuador, Barcasa Reef and the Española and 0-30 banks in the Galapagos should produce plenty of yellowfins in the 40- to 100-pound class, as long as the water stays clean.

Blackfin Tuna

blackfin tuna
Blackfin tunaIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida Second choice: Mexico

Fast action at the Islamorada and Marathon humps, the End of the Bar off Key West, and various offshore pinnacles makes the Florida Keys blackfin central this time of year. Fishing around anchored shrimp boats on the Gulf side of the Keys also remains productive. The abundance of baitfish sparking the world-famous sailfish bite off the Yuacatan Peninsula also draws plenty of blackfin tuna.

Bonefish

bonefish
Bonefish
BonefishIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas
Second choice: Belize

Stiff spring breezes are a factor in the Bahamas, but warmer temperatures send bonefish to the shallows. Coves and bays shielded by tall vegetation on their shores — as in the Abaco Marls, and Andros bights and major creeks — are ideal places to look for tailers. In Belize, 2- to 4-pounders are plentiful and active. Pushing up a lively flat with the rising tide is the easiest way to locate fish.

Snook

snook
SnookIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Mexico

April is a great month to pick a fight with big linesiders in Florida as fish return to their battle stations in or near open water, usually around submerged structure. Now is also a good time to look for snook in the southern bays and brackish lagunas of the Yucatan Peninsula, where 5- to 8-pounders are common, and enough trophies exceeding 20 pounds are mixed in to keep things interesting.

Tarpon

Tarpon
Tarpon
TarponIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Mexico

With prolonged daylight and water temps nearing 75 degrees, the spring tarpon migrations begin along both Florida coasts. Expect fish to congregate in deep channels, inlets and passes at night, then continue their pilgrimage by morning. In the Yucatan, 3- to 10-pounders are snapping in the northern lagoon systems, while larger juveniles prowl mangrove country farther south.

Permit

Permit
Permit
PermitIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Belize
Second choice: Florida

The abundance of fish, large and small, and productive flats make Belize the perennial favorite destination for traveling anglers intent on tangling with permit in shallow water this time of year. In the Sunshine State, April is a transition month for permit. There are plenty of active fish, but some patrol the flats of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and some still congregate over shallow wrecks.

Red Drum

red drum
Red DrumIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana
Second choice: Texas

Reds of all sizes make their way into the Louisiana marshes, and while temperatures remain cool in the brackish shallows, hydrilla and other invasive weeds that blanket ponds and portions of bays (called lakes in Louisiana) in the summer remain in check, making sight-fishing easier. Redfishing improves in major bays in the Lone Star State, and tailing activity on the flats increases.

Striped Bass

striped bass
Striped bassIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Maryland
Second choice: California

Stripers that wintered deep in Chesapeake Bay and coastal rivers begin their move toward open water. Their eagerness to feast on early-season bunker and similar forage makes them easier to locate. Find schooling bait and the bass won’t be far. Striper fishing improves in the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay. Use sonar to find fish along deep shorelines and over structure.

Swordfish

swordfish
Swordfish
SwordfishIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: New Zealand

If you like roller coasters, you won’t mind drifting for broadbills in South Florida this month, which tends to bring strong winds and choppy seas. Putting up with a bumpy ride offshore is often rewarded by one or more swords from 100 to 400 pounds. In Kiwi waters, it is now fall, peak time for swordfish, and boats find pay dirt off the Far North, Mayor Island, and around the Garden Patch.

King Mackerel

king mackerel
King mackerelIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Louisiana

In the Keys and along Florida’s Gulf coast, kings of all sizes feed higher in the water column as surface temperatures climb above 72 degrees, evident by an increase in smokers skyrocketing. Flashy topwaters around schooling baitfish become effective. In Cajun waters, kingfish weighing 15 pounds and up hunt just outside the passes. Fish liveys under a float or shiny stickbaits for best results

Seatrout

seatrout
SeatroutIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Texas
Second choice: Louisiana

Big Texas trout ambush prey in Laguna Madre, and Matagorda and Galveston bays. Key on grass flats and oyster reefs on the edges of channels and the Intracoastal Waterway. With water temperatures on the rise, speckled trout in Louisiana make their way inshore. Look for them around the bridges in Lake Pontchartrain, or shallow oil and gas platforms and the mouths of major bayous along the coast.

Dolphin

mahimahi
DolphinIllustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Hawaii
Second choice: Florida

Spring is mahi time in Hawaii, where the number of slammers, big bulls and cows increases exponentially. The proximity of deep, blue water to the islands often brings the action close enough for anglers aboard small boats, kayaks and paddleboards to partake. In Florida, it’s still early, but some dolphin show up along the Gulf Stream’s western edge. Expect the action to improve as May approaches.