Monday, December 6, 2021

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in September

Jack with a juvenile 12-spot redfish. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

Jack with a juvenile 12-spot redfish. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

Capt. Pete Rapps

September is about our hottest and wettest month of the year. Our typical daytime temperatures will hover in the mid to high 90’s each day, and dropping down to the chilly 80’s at night. Before heading out on the water, be sure to have a good look at the current weather report and keep an eye on the local radar. Typically, if you get out at sun up you will have a good opportunity to get some good fishing in before the daily storms arrive. Also have a look at the local tides to determine when you will have some good moving water in the areas you will be fishing. After having a good look at the moon, tides and solunar bite times for the month, I like what I see around the 11th–15th for the new moon tides, and the 26th-30th for the full moon tides. I have a solunar “peak bite” calendar on my website for your reference.

If targeting redfish, I usually like an incoming tide on the outside barrier islands and oyster bars. If using artificial bait is your thing, try a gold spoon, Berkley Gulp Shrimp on a jig head, or a nice buck tail jig. If you like to use natural bait, I like live shrimp, thread herring or pilchards under a popping cork. Be sure to work that popping cork to attract the fish towards your bait. I usually say pop the cork about a foot every 8-10 seconds.

If targeting snook, also try some of the outside barrier islands on a good moving tide. If using natural or live baits, I really like pilchards the best. You just need a decent cast net to catch them, and in this heat, a good live well to keep them alive and active. A good quality 3/0 or 4/0 circle hook will be good depending on the size of the

Jill hooked up to a nice tarpon on a Captain Rapps’ charter.

Jill hooked up to a nice tarpon on a Captain Rapps’ charter.

live bait you are using. If you are using artificials, try a DOA TerrorEyz, a 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp, or a nice topwater plug. I know everyone has a topwater plug they love, so ask around and see what is working locally. I have had some decent success catching some pretty big snook using a MirrOlure Top Dog 94MR.

If you want some good eating fish, try for some speckled sea trout. Get out to the grass flats to hit your favorite spots the last hour or two of the incoming tide. A lot of your action will happen in the 3’-5’ depth range. Try a 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp, a DOA Deadly Combo, and of course a live shrimp under a popping cork. Florida south region regulations allow you to keep 4 trout per licensed angler between 15” and 20”, however one of these four may be over 20”. They have a nice mild tasting white meat and fry up good in a pan.

If you are looking for instruction or want to learn our techniques, let’s get you out on a charter and our captains and myself will be happy to give you all the guidance you need to have a successful day out on the water.


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 web site for booking information, videos, recipes, and more (don’t miss his world-class seafood seasonings!) at


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