Capt. Pete Rapps
As March ends and April begins, our water begins to warm up, as does the bite. Water temperatures should get up into the high 70s this month, with air temperatures in the mid 80s.
I always like to look at the moon phases and Solunar calendar when selecting the best bet fishing days each month. This April the new moon falls on the 7th and the full moon falls on the 22nd. When having a look at the moon phases, tides, and the Solunar calendar, we have some nice looking days on the 5th through the 9th, and the 20th through the 24th. For the current Solunar calendar, please refer to our website. There is a link on the bottom of our home page for “Solunar Bite Times.”
If you are looking for the spotted sea trout and pompano, aim for areas out on the flats where you can find grass on one side of the boat and sand on the other. Typically, trout will be in three to five feet of water in the grass, while the pompano can be found in the same depth in the sandy area. Using a 3/8 oz. buck tail type jig tipped with a fresh, but small piece of shrimp will draw either of them in. However, pompano will need a little bouncing of the jig in order to get interested.
If your aim is more towards the “Silver King,” the tarpon are just beginning to appear on the shallow flats. Feeding on several fish including thread herring, pilchards, ladyfish, and crabs, the Silver King is on the move. Choose 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 to a good rod. Stick it in your stern rod holder with your bait of choice and wait for the tarpon to start peeling the line off. At that point, click the bait runner into gearand point the tip of the rod at the Silver King during the first run. The circle hook will then work its way into position for a solid hookup. After that first run, you need to get that rod tip up and allow the circle hook to do its job to drive the hook home. Make sure to point your rod tip at the tarpon each and every time he jumps so that he will be able to take the drag easier.
If tarpon are on your “bucket list,” you should think about joining us down in Big Pine Key at the Bahia Honda Bridge. I am there with some of our top guides doing tarpon-only charters from the middle of April through the middle of June, catching several of these “Silver Giants” every day.
Snook are on the move from the backcountry to the near Gulf river mouths. Best bets for catching snook during this time is live bait like pilchards and thread herring. Try the mangrove shorelines where the water is moving over deeper cuts. Typically there is an eddy of still water around each point. The snook will be lying in there waiting for bait to be swept by with the current. Drift your baits into the eddy for your best chance.
Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year-round, expert-guided, light-tackle, near-shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Ten Thousand Islands of the Everglades National Park, and spring-time tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet offers family-friendly charters that are fun for men, women, and children of all ages – from first-timers to experienced anglers. With our team’s years of experience, vast knowledge of the area, and easygoing demeanor, you are guaranteed to have a great day on the water.
Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class website for booking information, videos, recipes, and more (don’t miss his world-class seafood seasonings!) at www.CaptainRapps.com. Contact Captain Pete Rapps at 239-571-1756 or