Monday, May 10, 2021

10,000 Islands Fishing Forecast for January


Lou holds a nice winter snook, with Capt. Jeff on a Capt. Rapps fishing charter. Photos by Capt. Pete Rapps

Lou holds a nice winter snook, with Capt. Jeff on a Capt. Rapps fishing charter. Photos by Capt. Pete Rapps

January is a very popular fishing month here, and just about everywhere in Florida. The winter fishery is in full swing and the variety of fish available can be incredible outside of any big cold fronts or windy days. The weather can be very comfortable and with it provides some good fishing.

Take a look at your local tide predictions for the areas you will be fishing. We have some very low tides around the full and new moons in January, so plan your nearshore and backwater trips accordingly because you do not want to get stuck in a -.5 low tide for sure. The full moon falls on the second and the new moon falls on the 17th. These moon phases produce the largest tidal movement, which means you will experience the highest high tides and the lowest low tides for about four days prior through about four days after the full and new moons. However, with these big tidal movements comes the nutrients and baits that the fish eat, so while the fish are turned on to these nutrients, it can be some of the best fishing days of the month.

Ray Fino with a redfish and pompano.

Ray Fino with a redfish and pompano.

If you are looking for some good fish to take home for dinner, January is ideal for targeting speckled sea trout out on the flats. Keep in mind, however, that the rules governing the southern regions allow you to only keep four fish per person and the fish have to range between fifteen and twenty inches long. You can only have one fish that measures over twenty inches. The rules and regulations are constantly changing, so it is always advisable that you check current regulations before your fishing trip. The most up to date and current regulations can be found at FWC at



Speckled sea trout are often considered the prime target when it comes to January fishing in the 10,000 Islands area, which is why the numbers are limited when it comes to catching them.

Since you will most likely be fishing around the flats this time of year, you will also find bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel, and even some decent scattered pompano. DOA jerkbaits are ideal for these fish along with shrimp.

Sheepshead and redfish are also common in the month of January, but you will find these fish around the oyster bars, not the flats. Small shrimp and fiddler crabs are your best bet for bait. Incoming tide is the best time to fish for these because that is the time of the day in which they are the most active.

If snook is more your speed, you can find them swimming around the mangrove shorelines in the backwaters. You should also keep an eye out for them around the oyster bars as well if you are in that area. They prefer a wide variety of bait, whether they are natural or jigs. However, during January, it is illegal to take snook with you. Rather, you can take a picture of your catch but then release them.

Winter fishing in the 10,000 Islands allows for many opportune fishing moments that are accompanied with comfortable and moderate weather, so you will more than likely be tempted to stay outdoors for the majority of the day.

Keep in mind that if you are interested in learning more about fishing in our area, it’s best to hire a professional guide before going out on your own to gain local knowledge of tackle, baits, areas to fish, local regulations, and more. Send us an email or give us a call to schedule an “on the water” educational fishing charter.

Check back next month for the February fishing forecast and good luck out there!

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch team accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge and experience of the area, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site at, or call 239-571-1756.

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