May and June are here and the water temperatures have finally warmed up into the upper 70’s to mid-80’s, and summer fishing has begun!The snook have moved out of the backcountry where they were hanging out all winter. You will see them in the river mouths and nearshore island areas. Fish for them on the outgoing tide with artificials like DOA TerrorEyz and Gulp shrimp, or try some live bait like finger mullet or pilchards.Redfish are around in good numbers and all of those little “rat” reds we have been catching all winter are finally reaching 18 inches. They will gladly accept live bait like pilchards, threadfin herring, and shrimp. Also be sure to try a Gulp shrimp on a weighted jig head. Look for reds around oyster bars, especially during 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 out to these guys for a little drag screemin’ fun!The flats are alive with speckled trout this month. Drift grassy areas in the 3- to 5-foot depth range on the incoming tide. Try bucktail type jigs tipped with a small piece of shrimp for some fast action. Also try all types of soft plastic jigs, spoons, and top water plugs. Trout will happily hit live baits like shrimp and pilchards.Tarpon have arrived and can be found on the nearshore flats and river mouths. I like to fish for them with live baits like mullet, ladyfish, and large pilchards or threadfin herring. I use a larger circle hook like an Owner 7/0 or 8/0 depending on the size of the bait, tied to 6 feet of 50-pound fluorocarbon leader, with 40- or 50-pound 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, which tore the hook out of its 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.
Hailing out of Chokoloskee Island Park Marina, Chokoloskee, FL, 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, and children of all ages, experienced or not, or 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 website at www.CaptainRapps.comContact Info: Capt. Pete RappsBackwater Fishing Charters(p) 239 571-1756(w) captainrapps.com(e) firstname.lastname@example.org