Monday, January 17, 2022

Summer fishing patterns are on the way

Scott Newsome with this snooky beauty. Photos by Capt. Pete Rapps

Scott Newsome with this snooky beauty. Photos by Capt. Pete Rapps

By Capt. Pete Rapps

As May rolls into June, we will see summer fishing patterns officially begin. The water temperatures will heat up into the mid 80’s, and the afternoon rain storms will follow shortly.

With the heat arriving, the Snook have moved out of the back country where they were hanging out all winter. You will see them in the river mouths and near shore island areas. Fish for them on the outgoing tide with artificials like DOA TerrorEyz & Gulp Shrimp, or try some live bait like Finger Mullet, Pilchards, or Thread Herring.

Redfish are around in good numbers and all of those little “Rat” reds we were catching all winter are finally reaching 18 inches. They will gladly accept live bait like Pilchards, Thread Herring, & Shrimp. Also be sure to try a GULP shrimp on a weighted jig head. Look for Reds around oyster bars, especially the last part of the incoming tide.

If you get out to the shallow wrecks, look for larger schools of Permit. They will happily feed on small live crabs, artificial crabs, and jigs. Cobia are available on the same wrecks. Bring a few live finger mullet or some artificial eels out to these guys for a little drag screamin’ fun!

The flats are alive with Speckled Trout this month. Drift grassy areas in the 3’- 5’ depth range on the incoming tide. Try buck tail type jigs tipped with a small piece of shrimp for some fast action. Also try all types of soft plastic jigs, spoons, & top water plugs. Trout will happily hit live baits like shrimp and Pilchards.

Tarpon have arrived and can be found on the near shore flats and river mouths. I like to fish for them with live

Another great catch.

Another great catch.

baits like Mullet, Ladyfish, and large Pilchards or Thread Herring. I use a larger circle hook like an Owner 7/0 or 8/0 hook depending on the size of the bait, tied to 6’ of 50lb Fluorocarbon leader, with 30 -40 lb braided line on a baitrunner spinning reel. When a Tarpon takes your bait, grab the rod, point the tip directly at the fish, click the reel into gear, and hang on! Remember to keep the tip pointed at the Tarpon as it jumps. This allows the fish to peel drag as it flies out of the water. I used to say “bow” to my clients when they hooked up, but I recently had a customer run to the front of the boat with the rod bent in half as the fish jumped and tore the hook out of it’s mouth. He thought I wanted him on the bow of the boat, and did what he thought I was asking. Now I just say “point” to the fish. 🙂

I am currently doing Tarpon-only charters in the Keys. If you have always wanted to hook into a “Silver King”, give me a call and let’s get it crossed off of your Bucket list!

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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