Capt. Pete Rapps
May is typically one of our mildest months of the year. We look forward to calm days on the water now that those windy days of April are behind us. It is typically a dry month too, so there is not a lot of running away from those pesky afternoon thunderstorms that will be upon us next month and throughout the summer.
The Snook have moved out of the back country where they were hanging out all winter. You will see them in the river mouths and near shore island areas. They are hungry and looking to eat as they enter their breeding season. Fish for them on the outgoing tide with artificials like DOA TerrorEyz & Berkley Gulp Shrimp, or try some live bait like Finger Mullet or Pilchards. If you are targeting Snook, please take extra care to not wear them out with light tackle, and to take a few extra minutes to assure a full revival when releasing them.
Redfish are around in good numbers too. They will gladly accept live bait like Pilchards, Thread Herring, Shrimp, or Fiddler Crabs. Also be sure to try Berkley Gulp Shrimp on a weighted jig head. Look for Reds around oyster bars, especially the last part of the incoming tide.
Ifyou get out to some of the offshore wrecks, keep your eyes peeled for schools of Permit. They will happily feed on small live crabs, artificial crabs, and jigs. Cobia are available on the same wrecks. Bring a few live finger mullet out to these guys for a little drag screemin’ fun!
The flats are alive with Speckled Trout this month. Drift grassy areas in the 3’- 5’ depth range on the incoming tide. Throw .oz and 3/8oz buck tail jigs tipped with a small piece of shrimp for some fast action. Also try all types of soft plastic jigs, spoons, & top water plugs. Trout will happily hit live baits like shrimp and Pilchards. When you find one, mark the spot and keep coming back and drifting past it, or just stake off and work the school.
Tarpon are in the area and can be found on the near shore flats and river mouths. I like to fish for them with live baits like Mullet, Ladyfish, and large Pilchards or Thread Herring. I use a larger circle hook like an Owner 7/0 or 8/0 depending on the size of the bait, tied to 6’ of 50 lb Fluorocarbon leader, with 40 or 50 lb braided line on a baitrunner spinning reel. If you seea school of moving Tarpon, quietly situate yourself far in front of the school and cast in the area in which they are headed. I also like to just drift the flats and areas where they are hanging out. When doing this, I will tie a small balloon to the top of my 6’ fluorocarbon leader and just float the live baits with my spinning reels in the bait runner mode. When a Tarpon takes your bait, grab the rod, point the tip directly at the fish, click the reel into gear, and hang on! Remember to keep the tip pointed at the Tarpon as it jumps. This allows the fish to peel drag as it flies out of the water.
Captain Rapps’ Fishing Charters offer expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps and his 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