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Fishing the 10,000 in July

Redfish caught on a Captain Rapps Charter. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

FOLLOW THE FISH  Capt. Pete Rapps  CaptainRapps@gmail.com Here in the Ten Thousand Islands, the weather in July is somewhat predictable, as are the fishing patterns. Expect the bite to drop off during the mid-day heat and slack tides. The bite is early in the day, and again late in the afternoon/early evening after the mid-day storms cool things off a little. Day time air temperatures are now hovering around 90 degrees each day, bringing the water temperatures up to 87 degrees. Anglers can get into some nice snook on the outside islands. Top water plugs and suspended soft plastic artificials will ... Read More »

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in June

Captain Rapps with a Permit. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com The Summer heat is here, and the bite is on! Day time air temperatures in June are hovering around 90 degrees each day, which has now brought the average water temperature up to 86 degrees. Your best bet for fishing the shallow flats in June will be early morning up until about noon, and then again late in the afternoon after 4:00 PM until sunset. The regular mid-day storms will become more regular as the month progresses, so why not take advantage of a mid-day break off the water for a dip in ... Read More »

Protecting Yourself from the Summer Sun

Wide Rimmed Hats are a must. PHOTOS BY PETE RAPPS

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Many flats fishermen have their boats set up for efficient casting. This involves minimizing items in the boat that can create obstacles and snags. Most of us fishing out of flats boats do not have bimini tops or T-tops for this reason. Because of this, there is no shade or any way to duck out of the direct sun. We have to dress properly to stay cool and prevent sun exposure. Out on the water, we have sun baking us from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about ... Read More »

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in May

Black Drum. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Spring is here, and one of my favorite months of fishing is among us. Mild weather patterns make May a perfect month to enjoy our local waters. It is typically a dry month with light winds. The water is warming up into the 80s, and the fish are on their annual migration from the back country waters into the near shore Gulf flats and island areas. Snook season was again open for a couple of months, but now closes on May 1 and will remain closed until September 1. The big “momma” snook ... Read More »

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in April

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com The average air temperatures in April are a few degrees higher than in March and will typically range between 61 and 86 degrees. This will, in turn, keep our average water temperatures up into the mid to high 70s. Snook are on the move from the back country to the near Gulf river mouths. Best bets for catching snook during this time is live bait like pilchards and thread herring. Try the mangrove shorelines where the water is moving over deeper cuts. Typically, there is an eddy of still water around each point. The ... Read More »

March is a great month to hit the water!

Tom and Chris with twin Redfish.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Typically, the month of March brings some of the best Speckled Trout fishing our area has to offer. If you can find areas where you have grass on one side of the boat and sand on the other, you could certainly get into some fun fishing! In these areas you can fish the same flats for both Speckled Trout and Pompano. Try casting out a 3/8 oz bucktail style jig tipped with very small fresh shrimp pieces (cut a shrimp into 6-8 pieces). The Trout will be in 3-5 feet of water in the ... Read More »

Prime Fishing Targets of the 10,000 Islands

Remember slot size for snook: 28-33 inches.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Here in the Ten Thousand Islands, we target many different species of fish throughout the year. As the seasons change, so do our target species and methods of how and where we fish for them. Our top shallow water targets include snook, redfish, speckled trout and tarpon. In addition to these four, we catch snapper, sheepshead, shark, tripletail, pompano, permit, cobia, gag and red grouper, spanish mackerel, king mackerel, flounder, catfish, jack crevalle, ladyfish and a few others. Below is a very brief explanation of our top four targets. • Snook: There is ... Read More »

Fishing in February

The Apfelbach family with a few nice fish. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com During February, we will generally experience some small changes from January’s wind and cold fronts. We will still experience cold fronts, but they are usually a little less powerful. The water temperatures will remain about the same as January, hovering in the low- to mid-60’s. Daytime air temperatures will average about 52-76 degrees. Keep an eye on your tide chart because we have some extremely low tides around both the new moon and full moon. Be mindful of the morning full moon low tides Feb. 10-16, and the new moon low tides Feb. 25-March ... Read More »

Shrimp and Snapper Soup

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com What’s better than a warm, fresh homemade pot of locally caught seafood soup on a cool winter’s day? Head on down to the local grocer or farmer’s market, and pick up just about everything you need for this quick and easy recipe. It will take you just 30 minutes from start to finish. Serve with some warm fresh bread or biscuits and butter. ½ LB Ditalini or any small pasta 3 Cloves of chopped garlic 3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive oil 1 Pint of cherry tomatoes sliced into halves 1 Bunch of Asparagus chopped into 1” ... Read More »

Fishing with the Grandkids

Ladyfish and Trout.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com When we were children, my grandfather used to take my brother and I fishing all he could. Grandpa just loved to have us out on the boat. Sometimes, he would take us out to the shallow reefs, and we would drop live shrimp down on small hook. We would have a blast reeling in grunts, porgies, snapper, ladyfish, jacks and the occasional triggerfish. We would laugh and giggle as we pulled in one after the other on every drop down. What a blast! Other days Grandpa would take us out for big fish. He ... Read More »

Late December-January Fishing Forecast

Joey and a red fish.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com We are now approaching our coolest month of the year. Gulf water temperatures typically average in the mid-to-high 60’s into January. 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, ... Read More »

The Spotted Sea Trout

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com The spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), also called speckled trout, specs, trout or spotted weakfish, is a common shallow water fish found in our area of the Ten Thousand Islands. They are closely related to the northern weakfish (Cynoscion regalis). Even though most of these fish are caught on shallow grassy flats, spotted sea trout reside in virtually any inshore waters from the outside flats to far up our coastal saltwater rivers where they often move to for shelter during the colder winter months. Contrary to its name, the spotted sea trout is ... Read More »

Winter Fishery Changes in 10,000 Islands

More beautiful redfish  caught with Capt. Rapps.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Every year around this time, we see some major changes to our local fishery. Around the middle of the December we typically see our first major cold front come rolling through. We have already seen a few minor cold fronts come through in November which brought the night temperatures down into the 50’s. The fronts also brought some days where the wind hit 20+ mph. Expect Gulf water temperatures to drop down into the mid 60’s later this month. Be extremely diligent in December, and be certain to do your homework by reviewing local ... Read More »

Review Your Tide Charts Before Heading Out

No one wants to end a day of fun in the sun this way.

FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com This is the time of year when we are presented with some daily challenges and obstacles that require more thought and planning prior to starting your day of fishing. One aspect of planning your day can be accomplished far in advance, and that is determining your tides. Tide charts are available spreading out years in advance. Here I will explain tides in layman’s terms to help keep it simple for those new to tide prediction. There are more technical explanations on the Internet that can be found with a simple Google search. The tides ... Read More »

November Fishing in the 10,000 Islands

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Finally our first true Fall month is here! November is one of my absolute favorite months here in the Ten Thousand Islands and the reasons are numerous. I could go on forever describing them, but some of the highlights are…. 1) Mild weather patterns with little rain and light winds, 2) Fish are actively following and feeding on the huge bait pods just off the coastal beaches, 3) Daytime temperatures are comfortably hovering in the high 70’s to low 80’s, 4) Migratory birds are actively arriving for the winter……. and the list goes on! ... Read More »

Winner Winner, Redfish Dinner!

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com One species of fish that we catch all year round here in the 10,000 islands is Redfish. Its true name is Red Drum, however most in our area refer to them as Redfish or just “Reds.” Their Latin name is Sciaenops Ocellatus, and they are closely related to the Black Drum or the Pogonias Cromis. They are classified as Drums because they make a deep drumming noise. Several times I have come upon large schools of Redfish that you could actually hear making a deep bass drumming noise in the water around the boat. ... Read More »

October fishing in the 10,000 Islands

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com It may not feel like it just yet, but our first fall month is upon us, and the daily rains will start to diminish throughout the month. It will still be hot out there, but it sure will be nice to see the change of seasons. October is here and what a great month it is to fish the 10,000 Islands! Our day time air temperatures are now averaging around 87 degrees, as water temps hover around 81 degrees. Typically we will begin to see some nice schools of large live bait like Pilchards ... Read More »

Citrus Grilled Hot and Sweet Wahoo

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Wahoo are dense and mild fish that are perfect to cook on the grill. We cook them so many ways at home, but so far the guest favorite has been this citrus grilled hot and sweet method. The orange flavor and mildly spicy heat seem to go perfectly on Wahoo! Get out there and catch up a nice Wahoo or pick some up fresh from your local market and give this super fast and easy recipe a shot… I’m sure you and your guests will love it too! 2 Wahoo Steaks –1 ¼” thick  ... Read More »

September fishing in the 10,000 Islands

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com September will be the last full month of summer heat and rainy afternoons here in the 10,000 Islands. Day time air temperatures will average around 91; water temps will hover around 86. Typical to our summer months, September heats up so much by mid day, that the bite will usually drop off by lunch time. We will still get early day storms which will cool things off a little and produce a late afternoon/early evening bite. Snook season opens up on September 1. This will be the first time since the freeze of 2010 ... Read More »

Summer Fishing Means Sunnier Fishing

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FOLLOW THE FISH Capt. Pete Rapps CaptainRapps@gmail.com Summer here in Southwest Florida is an awesome time for both us locals and those visiting our area to really enjoy all that the area has to offer without the big crowds of the winter season. Although we are still really busy taking customers out on charters each day, boats out on the water are few and far between, the fishing pressure is really low, and it is a fantastic time to get outside and appreciate our local fishery and amazing wildlife. With that being said, the summer sun is now at its strongest ... Read More »