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April 11, 2023 - Spring is here

Ocean Temps are still in the low 50s, but it's warming up nicely in our backcountry.

April is here, and the last few warm spells have really turned things on. Speckled Trout are now starting to respond to topwater lures at dawn and dusk. While “bone” is always a fan favorite, the reflective topwater lures in gold, copper, and silver are a big hit in the spring. Fly anglers can try to match this action with gurglers and poppers, but if you can “walk-the-dog” with a crease fly, that’s your best bet. The Elizabeth, Lynnhaven, Little Creek, and Eastern Shore tributaries have been producing.

The flounder bite is picking up on the Eastern Shore, but it doesn’t seem like they’re in full aggression mode yet. Some warming up this month should really get the flounder going. Focus on areas where current is pushing through a short gut or around a corner or point.

The big schools of slot and puppy drum have really started to break up into smaller numbers, meaning they’re easier to find, but the “find a school and catch 15” days are past us until next winter. The inlets on the Southern and Western Shore of the Bay along with Rudee remain the hotspots early in the year, but the Eastern Shore should be seeing more action in the near future. While we had a warmer winter, we also had a cool March, but the bull reds still beat the early April full moon and are present in their usual haunts around Cape Charles and seaside. Big jig heads (¾ oz or more) with soft plastic trailers are a great way to entice these fish that are keying in on shrimp larvae currently. Yup – 40 pound, 45” red drum are moving to fill up on larva that don’t quite reach an inch in length. Elephants eat peanuts, I guess.

I would presume the presence of the big reds means the big uglies (black drum) should be there as well, but I’ve yet to see one this year. Spring water temperatures have been all over the place, but we should be safely above the 60 degree mark in most of our back country estuaries (the seaside Eastern Shore lagging a bit in the mid 50's), and as that continues to climb, we’ll be looking for more bait and summer gamefish to come in. As is, the spring is here, and the best time to get out and fish is when you can!

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