Capt. Pete Rapps
Our mid-winter fishery here in the 10,000 Islands can prove to be full of action if planned properly.
We have so many species of fish available to catch in the shallow flats and back water areas. Typical catches right now providing some good fresh fillets for dinner include speckled sea trout, sheepshead, redfish, black drum, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, pompano and silver trout. Other fish we are consistently catching for sport are snook, bluefish, ladyfish, black tip sharks, bonnethead sharks, jack crevalle and more.
Looking ahead at the moon and tides, our full moon this February falls on Feb. 4 and the new moon is on the 19th. February is another month with extreme tides around the full and new moon. We will have some extreme low tides the mornings of Feb. 1-6 and Feb. 16-21. Again, be sure to do your tide chart research if fishing those days. You will want to avoid fishing during some of these extreme negativelow tides. As I mention each winter, an east wind accompanied with cold temperatures will make the tides a lot lower and last longer than a tide chart prediction shows.
Try fishing some of the backwater bays and rivers for fun and sporty species like spotted sea trout, snook, mangrove snapper, redfish, ladyfish and a few others. When fishing for snook, it’s hard to beat live baits like pilchards and thread herring on a 4/0 circle hook with about 4 feet of 40-lb fluorocarbon leader. I also like a lot of artificials, like DOA’s Airhead’s and their CAL baits.
The outside flats are also a great area to fish this time of the year for speckled sea trout. Try drifting a grassy or hard bottom flat that is between 3-5 feet deep on the incoming tide. Some fat “gator trout” are usually around now, and love a nice live shrimp under a popping cork.
We fish all of our family-friendly charters in the south partof the 10,000 Islands just 30 minutes from Marco Island. Since we are fishing 100 percent within the Everglades National Park, boat traffic is very light, and fishing areas are very much unspoiled. It’s a great place to get to on your own boat or an easy drive by car to get out on one of our boats.
Come check it out; you will be happy you did.
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 spring time Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our 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