Capt. Pete Rapps
As May makes way for June, the season for summer fishing begins, bearing entrance into our four warmest months of the year. Midday air temperatures hover around 90 degrees every day, making the shallow flats in the early morning – before both the peak heat of the midday sun and the almost daily afternoon showers – your best bet for fishing.
Looking at moon phase, tides, and solunar calendar, I like what I see around June 3rd-7th on the new moon and the 18th-22nd on the full moon. These are the peak solunar days and the days where the tides will be the strongest.
At this point in the year, we are mostly fishing on the outside flats and shorelines, leaving the farther backwaters behind for the summer. You can find the snook feeding along the beaches and near shore troughs, where you can “match the hatch” and throw them live thread herring or pilchards. You can fish both soft and hard artificial bait that resembles these live baits as well.
Redfish tend to roam the outside oyster bars looking for little crustaceans on the bottom; try throwing them a live shrimp on a 4/0 circle hook under a popping cork, and keep ringing that dinner bell by popping the cork every 5-10 seconds.
Be on the lookout for tarpon in the shallow grass flats, as they are looking to eat during the coolest hours of the day – morning and evening. I like to toss out a small, live ladyfish or large pilchard or thread herring on a bait runner reel. For this I like to use 40 lb. braided line tied to 6’ of 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader and a 60/0 circle hook. You’ll want to set that reel into bait runner mode, wait for the strike, and remember to point your rod tip at the tarpon as it jumps. The idea is for the fish to be able to pull drag when it’s out of the water, otherwise the hook will pull out.
In addition to these fish, trout are also around in good numbers. You can fish the flats on the incoming tide with your favorite bucktail jig when fishing for these; they also like Gulp shrimp, and just about any other soft plastic jig tipped with a small piece of shrimp. While out, once you’ve found a couple of nice fish, you can throw a marker out and anchor up on the spot, or continue to make drifts past the same spot, if you want.
Mangrove snapper are also in decent numbers, and can be found primarily around mangrove roots. All you need to bait them is some live shrimp threaded on a small 2/0 hook. The trick to hooking these snapper is to let them take the shrimp for a few seconds before reeling in.
Contact Capt. Pete Rapps by email at CaptainRapps@Outlook.com or by phone 239-571-1756. Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year round expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and springtime tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our 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, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class website for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com.