February is a month where we have been seeing some subtle changes from January’s cold fronts and wind. The cold fronts are still hitting us, but seem to be a little less powerful. Water temperatures have been hovering in the high 50’s to mid 60’s, and if the daytime air temperatures continue to hit the high 70’s to low 80’s, the water temp will continue to rise.
Keep an eye on your tide chart because we have some extremely low tides around both the new moon and full moon. Be mindful of the morning low tides February 16th – 18th! Wind direction affects the tides dramatically. A North or East wind will make the tide lower and longer than expected as it blows the water out and delays it’s return.
This past week there have been a mix of days with pretty solid action, and some that were a little slower, but overall still produced some decent quantities of sport fishing. The days that we have some pretty good tidal movement, prove to be the best action packed days.
I like to hit theoutside flats on the last 2 hours of the incoming flood tide. We drift areas that are 3’-5’ deep and vary from grass to sand. This way we can expect a combination of both Trout on the grass, and Pompano on the sand. I like to use a 3/8 oz bucktail type jig, with a good amount of glitter in it. You can use your light casting gear with 10 lb test line and 2’ of 20lb fluorocarbon leader. In addition to the Trout and Pompano, you can expect to pick up Spanish Mackerel, Jacks, & Ladyfish.
The backwater bays and rivers hold Speckled Sea Trout, Snook, Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, Ladyfish, and other fun to catch species. We have most of our success fishing areas where the water is running rapidly over oyster bars. We use all types of bucktail jigs tipped with Shrimp pieces. Just this past Monday, we caught 18 Snook, 8 Redfish, and some small Mangrove Snapper on a . day Charter deep in the back country.
On the outgoing tide, I like to head into the river mouths and the backwaters andfish for Sheepshead and Snapper. They both love shrimp and will gladly accept a piece rather than a whole live shrimp. The reason why I like shrimp pieces in February is two-fold. First off, the winter shrimp tend to be huge….by cutting them in half, you can stretch your supply to last a lot longer. Secondly, the Sheepshead and Snapper have small mouths and will usually just rob a whole shrimp right off you hook.
I have developed a Species Availability Chart relative to the Backwater and Nearshore areas that I fish in the Everglades National Park. You can see it at www.CaptainRapps.com
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 www.CaptainRapps.com or call 239-571-1756.