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Where to Fish in April

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

Updated:

March 22, 2022

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 marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: Hawaii

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Striped marlin along Mexico’s Baja Peninsula have some competition as an influx of blues—including some 400- to 500-pounders—adds another species deserving of top billing to the target list. In Hawaiian waters, a seasonal profusion of mahi attracts increasing numbers of blue marlin to the deep waters off Oahu and Molokai. Nevertheless, the action likely remains sporadic for another month or so.

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Dominican Republic

Second choice: Bahamas

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Small blues in the 150- to 250-pound range increasingly make the scene off the Dominican Republic, and gameboats out of Punta Cana and La Romana soon identify their patterns and staging areas, amassing as many as half a dozen daily hookups. The blue marlin action also improves in the Bahamas. The fish won’t yet be widespread, but boats fishing off the northern islands should raise decent numbers.

Black Marlin

black marlin
Black marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Ecuador

Second choice: Costa Rica

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Local and globe-trotting big-game captains troll the fertile waters of Ecuador’s Marlin Boulevard this month, where black marlin abound, and there’s always a chance to raise specimens exceeding 600 pounds. In Central America, the seamounts and offshore humps off Costa Rica’s south Pacific coast will also attract plenty of blacks and could knock Ecuador’s Marlin Boulevard out of the top spot.

White Marlin

White marlin
White marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Dominican Republic

Second choice: Bermuda

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Packs of hungry whites start to show up off the Dominican Republic’s northeast coast, where gameboats primarily concentrate their efforts around the FADs, trolling a spread of rigged ballyhoo that also appeals to the small blues the area is known for. An increasing number of whites make cameos off Bermuda as more fish continue their northbound migration from the Yucatan and the Caribbean.

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

South Florida anglers enjoy spring sailfishing at its finest this month, with a steady bite and pockets of fast and furious action stretching from Stuart to the Keys. April is a peak month for sails in Mexico’s Yucatan Channel. Although the catch begins to slow off Puerto Aventuras and Cozumel, waters off Isla Mujeres and Cancun should more than make up for it, yielding multiple hookups for experienced crews.

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Guatemala

Second choice: Costa Rica

In Guatemala, April continues to produce the gangbuster sailfish action that made the area world-famous. In Costa Rica, boats out of Los Sueños and Quepos still encounter plenty of sails, and some tally a dozen releases during short-lived hot streaks. Meanwhile, the waters off the northern towns of Flamingo and Tamarindo start to heat up as May approaches.

Striped Marlin

striped marlin
Striped marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: New Zealand

The sport-fishing fleets out of Cabo San Lucas continue to enjoy solid striped marlin action along San Lucas and Santa Maria canyons, but runs to Golden Gate and San Jaime banks or to Cabrillo Seamount often produce fewer window-shoppers and more eager takers. In New Zealand waters, renowned hot spots like Three Kings and the Far North should start to yield striped marlin steadily this month.

Wahoo

Wahoo
Wahoo Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda

Second choice: Florida

Argus and Challenger, Bermuda’s fabled offshore banks, are a sure bet this month as reports of a dozen or more fish a day become more common. Both live-baiting and trolling a spread with Ilander lure-ballyhoo combinations should help fill the fish box. Wahoo fishing heats up in northeast Florida, where boats running to a ledge 55 miles off St. Augustine can expect to entice striped torpedoes in good numbers and size.

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin tuna Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: Costa Rica

In Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, yellowfins should be large and plentiful this month, so the charter fleets in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and other resort towns should have little trouble hooking up. In Costa Rica, boats out of the northern coastal towns of Tamarindo and Flamingo scan the horizon for acrobatic spinner dolphins, which reveal the whereabouts of yellowfin tuna schools.

Blackfin Tuna

blackfin tuna
Blackfin tuna Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Bahamas

The humps off Islamorada and Marathon in the Florida Keys should be loaded with blackfins in April. And on the Gulf side of the Sunshine State, anglers chumming behind anchored shrimp boats should get some hungry tuna within casting distance. The eastern islands in the Bahamas also host active blackfins off their shores this time of year. Look for feeding schools in 120 to 150 feet of water.

Bonefish

bonefish

Bonefish

Bonefish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas

Second choice: Belize

Stiff breezes still dominate the weather outlook in the Bahamas, but climbing temperatures bring more bones to the shallows. The schools won’t be as tightly packed, so it will be easier to single out the larger specimens. In Belize, expect similar windy conditions but higher temps agreeable to the schools of 2- to 4-pounders that abound. For bigger fish, try grass flats and shoals edged by deeper water.

Snook

snook
Snook Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

In Florida, some of the smaller linesiders may linger in the backcountry, but for mature fish, it’s time to move closer to open water, where prey will be more plentiful and easier to ambush as the spring baitfish run gets underway. Snook fishing vastly improves in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where the mangrove lagoons and southern bays hold plenty of fish.

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

The big annual migration starts this month in Florida. Barring a late cold front, tarpon by the droves usually begin their pilgrimage down both coasts of the state around the third week in April, once water temps hover around the 75-degree mark. In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, resident juvenile tarpon populations are increasingly bolstered by larger migrating fish as May approaches.

Permit

Permit

Permit

Permit Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Belize

Second choice: Florida

In Belize, dry season sets in, making it easier for anglers to scour the grass flats and shoals in search of permit, which remain as abundant or more so this month than anywhere else on the planet. In Florida, a good portion of the permit move out to the wrecks in preparation for spawning. Nevertheless, some remain on the flats throughout the Keys and Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

Red Drum

red drum
Red Drum Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Texas

There are fewer bull reds accessible in Louisiana’s inshore waters now, but certainly no shortage of fish as specimens in the 4- to 10-pound range will be widespread throughout the marshes and continue to dole out generous helpings of light-tackle fun. In the Lone Star State, count on fish foraging aggressively around oyster reefs, in marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway, and on the grass flats of major bays.

Striped Bass

striped bass
Striped bass Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Maryland

Second choice: Virginia

Stripers in Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and creeks that feed into it begin their gradual move toward open water, staging in Maryland and Virginia inshore waters to fatten up on the bountiful seasonal forage before heading north toward the Jersey shore and beyond. Look for the larger specimens to leave their wintering grounds first, later joined by hordes of schoolies.

Swordfish

swordfish

Swordfish

Swordfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Cayman Islands

April is a good month for swords in South Florida, where fish are plentiful and a number of charter captains have extensive broadbill fishing experience, providing anglers better odds for success day or night. In the Caymans, local and visiting boats continue the quest to beat the islands’ 392-pound record. Historically, larger fish are caught off Grand Cayman, with waters off Cayman Brac yielding higher numbers.

King Mackerel

king mackerel
King mackerel Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Louisiana

Kings are on the move this month, both in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. Expect solid bites close to Florida beaches from Naples to Clearwater on the Gulf side, and between Palm Beach and Fernandina on the opposite coast. In Louisiana, smoker kings forage around oil rigs inside 250-foot depths, but some join 10- to 15-pounders feasting on baitfish schooling around the mouths of major passes.

Seatrout

seatrout
Seatrout Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Texas

In Louisiana, speckled trout that spent the cold winter months out in the Gulf return to inshore waters, taking up residence around oyster bars, bridge abutments, dock pilings and the mouths of bayous, where the tide serves them easy meals. In Texas, potholes and troughs in grass flats, and oyster bars in waist- to chest-deep water are prime hangouts for trout in all the major bays.

Dolphin

mahimahi
Dolphin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas

Second choice: Florida

April is usually when dolphin traveling along both sides of the Gulf Stream current reach Bahamian waters and Florida soon after. With strong winds curtailing the formation of weed lines, running-and-gunning and using radar to locate bird activity generally pay off far better than conventional trolling. Chumming with liveys once you locate a school should lead to fast action.

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