Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Holy jalapenos……. it’s hot out there!

Captain Rapps and Ingrid Gilbert with a nice summer Snook. Submitted photos

Captain Rapps and Ingrid Gilbert with a nice summer Snook. Submitted photos

By Capt. Pete Rapps

The end of July and all of August is for sure the most picante time of the year to fish here in the 10,000 Islands. If you plan your day right, it can also equate to some of the best and most productive fishing our area has to offer. By mid day, air temperatures are now averaging around 93 degrees. Water temperatures are warm – right around 87 degrees. Although it does get hot and spicy by mid day, the daily thunder storms will usually drive you back to the dock just as the bite turns off. After the thunder storms are gone and things have cooled off a bit like a big dollop of sour cream on a hot bowl of chili, head back out again for some great early evening & sunset fishing action. My morning trips have been going out from 7:00-11:00 am, and afternoon trips head out from 4:30-8:30 pm.

Speckled Sea Trout will usually bite best on an incoming tide, on the nearshore and outside flats in about 3’- 5’ of water. I really like to use a ¼ or 3/8 oz. bucktail type jig with a little flash in its tail. Tip the jig with a very small piece of shrimp for awesome results. Another great rig is the DOA Deadly combo with a rootbeer colored Shrimp!

Snook typically bite best on an outgoing tide around the outside islands and cuts. If you can get some live Pilchards, Thread Herring, or Finger Mullet, you will be rewarded with some nice big momma Snook! Remember to give them a thorough revival after a quick photo….

Mike Torres and a nice Redfish.

Mike Torres and a nice Redfish.

Since the water is so warm, they get tired quickly. Be patient and expect a proper revival to take several minutes.

Redfish will bite best on an incoming tide, on the near shore oyster bars, on  live Shrimp, Pilchards, or Thread Herring. Try a popping cork with about 3’ of 25 lb. fluorocarbon leader and an appropriate sized circle hook to match your bait. Many artificials are equally as good and I really like a Gulp! shrimp – natural or new penny color on a 3/8 oz red jig head.

Shark are now around in good  numbers. Bull, Blacktip, Lemon, Nurse, Sharpnose, Bonnethead and others. Use 4-5’ of 80 lb. wire leader and cast out a chunk of Mullet or Ladyfish where the water is moving in a river mouth or channel. Hang on because they usually arrive pretty quickly.

Tarpon will bite best on an outgoing tide on the outside flats and deep channel cuts. If you have the opportunity to sight fish for them, try a large soft plastic bait like a DOA swimming mullet. Live baits such as Ladyfish, Thread Herring, and Pilchards are Tarpon candy!

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 or call 239-571-1756.

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