Sunday, December 5, 2021

Late Summer Fishing in 10,000 Islands

Chuck and Danny with a Speckled sea trout. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

Chuck and Danny with a Speckled sea trout. PHOTOS BY CAPT. PETE RAPPS

Capt. Pete Rapps

As August rolls into September, we are at the peak of summer heat and rainy afternoons here in the 10,000 Islands. Day time air temperatures will average around 92 degrees. Water temps will hover around 86 degrees. Typical to our summer months, it will heat up so much by mid-day, that the bite will usually drop off by lunch time. We will still get mid-day storms, which will cool things off a little, and will again produce a late afternoon/early evening bite.

Snook season opens up on Sept. 1. Many areas around the state are about back to full strength on snook populations since the big freeze and snook kill of 2010. Although we are catching some really nice snook here in the 10,000 Islands and the Everglades National Park, I personally feel they have not populated back to full strength. Because of this, I am an advocate of practicing catch and release fishing for snook to assure our children and their children will always be able to enjoy catching these fantastic game fish the same as we have in years past.

The snook are feeding on a good moving, outgoing tide around the outside barrier islands. Try those live baits for your best numbers. I like pilchards, thread herring and pinfish. Try them under a cork or just naturally free lined for best results. Artificials are always a productive and a fun way to catch snook too. I really like to use DOA Terror Eyz, 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp or buck tail jigs, and a nice flashy top-water plug will get the job done too.

The trout are around the shallow grass flats in

Jasen Gilbert with a nice Pompano.

Jasen Gilbert with a nice Pompano.

decent numbers. Hit your favorite spots the last hour or two of the incoming tide. Most of your bites will happen in the 3-5-foot depth range. They will hit artificial bait just as well, if not better than some live baits. I use 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp, DOA deadly combos and of course live shrimp under a good popping cork. Trout are a mild and delicious fish to eat. You can keep four trout per licensed anger between 15-20 inches, however one of these four may be over 20 inches.

Fish for redfish on an incoming tide on the outside oyster bars with live shrimp, pilchards or thread herring under a popping cork. Of course, many artificials are equally as good, such as a gold spoon, Gulp! shrimp or a buck tail jig. Redfish are also a fantastic fish to eat. You can keep one redfish per licensed angler between 18-27 inches.

Tarpon are still around, although not in as many numbers as early summer. The big gals will be out feeding on the outside bays and flats early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. In our area, they are naturally looking for ladyfish, thread herring and pilchards. My choice is to live line one of these delicacies out to them on a nice stout spinning rod. If you have opportunity to sight fish for them, try a large soft plastic bait like a DOA Swimmin’ Mullet.

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.

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