The average air temperatures in April are a few degrees higher than March, and will range between 61 and 86 degrees. This will in turn raise our average water temperatures up into the mid 70’s.
Look for areas out on the flats where you have grass on one side of the boat, and sand on the other. Here you can fish the same flats on the top end of the incoming tide for Speckled Trout and Pompano. Cast out 3/8 oz bucktail type jigs tipped with very small fresh shrimp pieces for scent. The Trout will be in 3-5 feet of water in the grass, and the pompano will be in the same depth of water in the sandy area. Let the jig bounce in the sand a little to get the Pompano interested.
If you want to hook up with the “Silver King”, Tarpon are beginning to show on the shallow flats. They are on the move and are feeding on many things like Thread Herring, Pilchards, Ladyfish, and crabs. Rig a good rod with a 6/0 circle hook, tied to 4’ of 60lb Fluorocarbon leader, on a baitrunner reel filled with 30 lb braid. Stick it in your stern rod holder with your bait of choice and wait for a Silver king to start peeling line off. Click the bait runner into gear and point the tip of the rod at the Tarpon during the first run. The circle hook will work it’s way into position for a solid hookup. After that first run, get that rod tip up and let the circle hook do it’s job to drive the hook home.…don’t forget to point your rod tip at him each and every time he jumps so that he can take drag easier.
If heading off shore is your thing, check out the close in wrecks and areas with good bottom structure for some of the best Permit and Cobia fishing of the year. The permit will happily accept a live crab on a 4/0 circle hook tied to 30 lb fluorocarbon leader on a spinning reel with 20lb test line. Watch for those schools on the surface and cast ahead of the pack and hold on! Cobia will be cruising the same areas, and it’s awesome to see them hovering under a large ray. Try casting out a live mullet on the same set up as the Permit and have a blast. If you do not have any live bait, use a plastic eel! They love em!
Next month I will be heading to Big Pine Key to get in on the annual Tarpon run at the Bahia Honda State Park Bridge. I still have a few openings left so drop me a line and let’s get you hooked up!
Capt Rapps has been fishing the Chokoloskee area for just over 20 years. He offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Everglades National Park, and is happy to accommodate anyone from men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Pete is extremely patient and loves to teach. You can book a charter right online 24/7. See his online availability calendar, booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and first class web site at www. CaptainRapps.com or call 239-571-1756.