Capt. Pete Rapps
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 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 the pool, a little nap, and a nice meal before heading out for an evening trip.
We are now fishing 90% on the outside flats and have pretty much left the backwaters for the summer. The Snook will be feeding on the outgoing tides along the beachesand troughs. You can “match the hatch” and throw them some nice live Thread Herring or Pilchards, or you can fish both soft and hard artificials that resemble these live baits.
Redfish are roaming 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. Keep ringing that dinner bell by popping that cork about every 5-10 seconds.
Look 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 baitrunner reel. I like to use 40 lb braided line, tied to 6’ of 60lb fluorocarbon leader, and an 8/0 circle hook. Set that reel into baitrunner mode, wait for thestrike, and don’t forget to point at the Tarpon as it jumps!
Trout are around in good numbers. Fish the flats on the incoming tide with your favorite bucktail jig, Gulp shrimp, or just about any other soft plastic jig…. tipped with a small piece of shrimp. Once you find a couple of nice fish, throw out a marker and either anchor up on the spot, or continue making drifts past the same spot.
Mangrove Snapper are also around in good numbers among the mangrove roots. All you need for them is some live shrimp threaded on a small 2/0 hook. The trick to hooking the snapper is to let them take the shrimp for a few seconds before reeling in. Usually you do not even need to set the hook, as they will do this on their own as they try to run away with your shrimp.