Friday, October 15, 2021

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in March

Pete and Trout. Submitted

Pete and Trout. Submitted

By Capt. Pete Rapps

Well the first few days of March indeed brought in some windy days as usual, 18 -25 mph winds can make for some interesting fishing. Since the coldest of the winter months are now behind us, expect to see a warming trend that will warm up our water temperatures from the 60’s into the low-mid 70’s.

Typically in March, we see some of the best Speckled Trout and Pompano fishing our area has to offer.  If you can find areas where you have grass on one side of the boat, and sand on the other, you could certainly get into some fun fishing!  In these areas you can fish the same flats for both Speckled Trout and Pompano.  Try casting out 3/8 oz “Don’s Potbelly jig” tipped with very small fresh shrimp pieces (cut a shrimp into 6-8 pieces). 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 areas. Let the jig bounce in the sand a little to get the Pompano interested.

Sheepshead can be found in deeper holes and drop offs against the mangrove roots in the rivers and near shore areas. I like to live line a shrimp on a small 2/0 circle hook into these likely areas. Sheepshead fishing is an “art” of it’s own that requires a lot of discipline and finesse. When you feel a nibble,

Jasen Gilbert and a nice Pompano.

Jasen Gilbert and a nice Pompano.

forget that natural born instinct to set the hook! Let him nibble! Reel in a half a crank, let him nibble some more! Keep reeling in a half a crank or so until you feel him grab that shrimp and run the other way. It takes a lot of patience and discipline, but once you get the finesse down, the fruits will come. If you ever thought about getting an electric fillet knife, now is the time. Sheepshead are thick skinned, spiny, have big ribs, and are perfect candidates for cleaning with electric knives.

On Saturday March 26th I will be conducting a seminar on fishing Chokoloskee and the Everglades National Park. It will be at 4:00 pm at TALL TALES BAIT AND TACKLE in the Pavillion Shopping Center on the corner of 41 and Vanderbilt. Call Mike at Tall Tales Bait and Tackle for more info: (239) 325-8284

Hailing out of Chokoloskee Island Park Marina, Chokoloskee, FL, 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, or 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

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