FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
Our typical weather patterns are here as December rolls into January, and we are seeing some of our first 40 degree mornings here in the 10,000 Islands. It is certainly our coolest period of the year, however the days when the fronts are absent, the sun is shining, and the thermometer gets up into the mid 70’s, can make for some awesome fishing!
January is another month that you should keep an eye on your tide chart before planning your day on the water. We have some extremely low tides around both the Full and New moons. If you get caught in a -.5 low tide that you did not anticipate, it could ruin your day. Be extra careful with the morning low tides January 8th-14th, and the 25th -28th. I use www.Saltwatertides.com to view local tides in the areas that I fish. You can also go to www.coastalbreezenews.com for daily tide information.
Speckled Sea Trout are a primary target all winter. Local rules for our area allow four per person, between 15” and 20”, and allow you to keep just one over the 20” mark. These rules do vary so be sure to confirm them with current regulations by the FWC at www.myfwc.com.
The shallow grass flats are alive with Trout, Bluefish, Ladyfish, Jacks, Spanish Macks and some Pompano. One my favorites are DOA jerkbaits and shrimp, both in root beer and white color. You can also use 3/8 oz bucktail type jigs tipped with a very small piece of shrimp. A favorite “go to” bait has been 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp. Use them on a ¼ oz Cotee Live Eye jig head.
The oyster bars hold Sheepshead & Redfish. If presenting natural bait, they both like to eat crustaceans like shrimp, sand fleas and fiddler crabs. Fish for these guys on the oyster bars on the incoming tide. Your baits can be presented under a popping cork or free lined on a hook.
Snook are being caught but please remember that they are catch and release only, and still in a recovery state since the ten-day freeze of 2010. Take a quick photo and quickly set them free.
We have been catching some nice Snook over oyster bars on good moving outgoing tides. They have been hitting a variety of baits including jigs, soft plastics, and live bait like some nice 3” long live Pilchards.
We now have a new bait and tackle shop in Everglades City. It is called Everglades Bait and Tackle and it is located in the same building as the grocery store, across from City Hall. One thing I really like is that they are open at 6:00 AM so us early birds can get our live shrimp early and head right out on the water.
Captain Rapps’ Fishing Charters offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch guides accommodate men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com