Capt. Pete Rapps
With March ending and April beginning, you can expect the water to warm up into the 70s and the air temperatures into the mid 80s. The full moon this April falls on the 11th and the new moon is on the 26th. April is the first month of the year that we should not have any extreme negative daytime low tides to be concerned with. Looking at the moon phases, tides, and the solunar calendar, I like what I see for peak bite days on the 9th through the 13th, and the 24th through the 28th. Refer to my website for the current solunar calendar. There is a link on the bottom of my home page for “Solunar Bite Times.”
Pompano and Spotted Sea Trout
If you are in search of the spotted sea trout or pompano, you should aim for areas out on the flats where grassy bottom and sand bottom meet. Usually, the pompano can be found in three to five feet of water within the sand, while the trout can be spotted in the same depth in the grassy areas. We’d recommend using a 3/8 oz. flashy buck tail type jig tipped with a fresh, but tiny piece of shrimp, to bring them in. However, if you want the pompano to get interested, you will need to do a little sandy bottom bouncing with your jig.
‘Silver King’ Tarpon
If you are looking to catch some “Silver King” this season, you can expect the tarpon to appear around the shallow flats. They will be on the move since they’ll be feeding on several kinds of fishes including ladyfish, pilchards, thread herring, and crabs. Try using a 6/0 circle hook tied to a 4’ of 60 lb. fluorocarbon leader on a bait runner reel filled with 30 lb. braid rigged up to a good rod. You will want to stick it in a stern rod holder with the bait of your choice and just wait for the tarpon to begin peeling the line off. At this point, you need to click that bait runner into gear and have the tip of the rod point towards the Silver King during the first run. This will allow the circle hook to work its way into position for a solid hookup.
Once the first run isover, you will need to have that rod tip up and let the circle hook do its job to drive the hook home. Try to have the rod tip pointed at the tarpon each and every time they jump to make the drag a bit easier. If tarpon are on your “Bucket List” you should think about joining us down at the Bahia Honda in Big Pine Key. I am there with our top tarpon fishing guides doing tarpon-only charters from the middle of April through the middle of June, catching several of these “Silver Giants” every day.
In April, you can expect the snook to be on the move from the back country to the near Gulf river mouths. The best way for you to catch any snook this time of year is to use live bait like pilchards and thread herring. We’d recommend searching for snook around the mangrove shorelines where the water moves over the deeper cuts. Usually, you can find an eddy of still water around each point. You will want to let your bait drift into the eddy in order to grab the snook’s attention.
I hope that these forecasts serve as educational and beneficial to you, and that they will help you become a better angler. If you have any questions or would like to book an instructional charter, please contact me at the below email. I also conduct free instructional seminars and lessons to various groups, clubs, tackle shops, and other venues throughout the year. If your group could benefit from a workshop, please do not hesitate to contact me. Also be sure to check out our website for dates of future workshops.
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.