2019 Islamorada Tarpon Season is here!

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We’re half way into April and even though this is considered the start of ‘prime’ tarpon season, it’s definitely gotten a little more hit and miss as of late.  The last few weeks we started to get all the crazy wind we normally get in the early spring, so that’s definitely made fishing a little tougher.  Not only that but a lot of wind direction shifts with some late weak cold fronts, so it keeps pushing fish around a lot it seems.  Most of the fishing in the backcountry where I like to fish has dried up after a stellar early start, but that is normal though usually it doesn’t happen until a little later in the year but again things started so early this year.  The local bridge and channel fishing hasn’t been too bad though, we’ve been getting them really every day we’ve tried.  But sometimes it’s tougher fishing, with smaller windows where the fish want to bite, and lots of competition around, and not to mention bridges, pilings, and lobster buoys to get tangled up in.  You can’t always move and get where you want as there is etiquette involved in these scenarios.  But anyways for tarpon right now that is your best bet and unfortunately sometimes there aren’t always other easy options nearby if tarpon doesn’t work out, as is often the case in the backcountry.

Also I’m offering discounted trip rates for the 2019 off season (September through November).  I’ve normally not really offered discounts on my trips for a variety of reasons, however next year as mentioned I’m taking more days off in the busy season so I really would like to fill my off season in a little more.  If you are interested in coming down at that time you can get some good deals on fishing and room rates.  Once I start to fill in those days though I may no longer off these great rates, so start planning early if you can!  September and October can still be good months for tarpon, November is not as much but we have really good fishing for other species.  Check out my discounted trip rates here.

IMPORTANT: All anglers starting Jan 10th, 2019 will be required to have an Everglades Visitors Pass when fishing in the park.  You can obtain one via internet/phone at http://www.yourpassnow.com and select Everglades National Park.  Most of my fishing is inside the park, so check with me but more than likely you will need one.  You can also buy an annual/lifetime pass at store.usgs.gov. However if we are tarpon fishing locally around bridges it will not be necessary – though I am not doing this so much these days.  Just check with me beforehand.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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4/18/19 Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing April

Got out with Mike and Will today for a 3/4 day.  We were after tarpon.  I had caught bait yesterday afternoon on the way home, so had some live ones in good shape and we decided to give it an early departure.  I like to get out early and go the extra mile doing that sometimes especially when fishing is tough.  It sort of paid off – we had our first and only bite within about 20 minutes.  Unfortunately the fish didn’t stay on the hook.  Conditions were pretty tough though, we had an absolutely ripping current with the near full moon.  Hard to keep baits out there.   Also the wind shifted and was blowing considerably southeast, so it was pushing the tide even harder.  We moved around and tried some spots in the bay where the current wasn’t so bad.  We saw a few fish in every spot, but just not our day.  Only saw one other boat catch one.  We ended up trying close to home for the last hour where I had some luck earlier this week, but not today.  Again several boats in there and didn’t see anybody get any action.

I’m off the next couple of days which I’m happy about, it’s gonna be full moon tomorrow night and then going west saturday as we get another late cold front.  Probably will make for some tougher tarpon conditions at least tomorrow.  Sunday looks nice right now they are saying lighter winds out of the north and the temperature isn’t suppose to drop too much.  Tarpon fishing is definitly a little tougher than normal right now for April, you’ll have your windows where it’s good but the rest of the time can be a lot of sitting and waiting.  And a lot of other boats around too so sometimes if you aren’t the lucky guy in the right spot, you are watching the action and it’s not a spectator sport!  Hopefully it’ll pick up though, looking at my yearly records the last April I had that was tougher, May ended up being a lot better so hopefully that’ll be the case.  0 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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4/17/19 Fishing for Tarpon in April in Islamorada

Got out for Day 2 with Brent and Colin.  We didn’t really focus on tarpon and decided to spend the day snook fishing in the everglades which was good!  We did give tarpon a try for the last hour though.  Did not get a bite and just tried in the same general area where we had found a few fish yesterday in the afternoon.  Tomorrow we’ll be giving it more of a real shot.  Looks like a bit of bad wind Friday and Saturday, with a big swing around the dial going hard south and then west as we get another weak cold front.  Not going to change temperature much, just the wind swing but they did say it’ll possibly get into the high 60s sunday morning.  0 for 0

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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4/16/19 Mid April Islamorada Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing

Fun day with Brent, Tom, and Colin! We tarpon fished around town. First bait out Tom got a nice 85 lber on a live bait. We missed another one soon after. Things got quiet after that, we caught a couple nurse sharks and a big eagle Ray which was unusual! We moved around and found some more tarpon after that. Colin hooked up a nice one of similar size to the first, we got the leader on that one but he went through it before we could get good pics. Brent jumped another one off a little later and then caught a big sting Ray. That was about it, same crew tomorrow we are likely going to go check the backcountry out for the day to mix it up!  2 for 4

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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4/15/19 April Islamorada Fishing for Tarpon

Got out with Shane and his son Jackson today for the day.  We ended up cutting things short and just doing a 3/4 day as we fished locally and with our bait supply and how fishing seemed to work out, it just made more sense.  We focused on tarpon and actually had some decent action.  Nothing at first we tried a spot early in the dark and no hookups, did have a few fish swim by and watched someone else hook one up and catch it.  After an hour or so and sun up, we ran to the bridges.  Caught the last of the incoming tide an hour or so.  Tarpon were biting some here, a boat hooked up as we pulled up.  Then we had a bite and jumped one off.  A few more boats had some bites, and then we hooked another that we chased but unfortunately he got wrapped in the bridge!  You can usually get through this bridge easily but the line got caught in barnacles and we could not get around the piling and eventually we got cut off.  So goes tarpon fishing!  After that things slowed down and the tide quite.  A lot of boats left but we hung around and went to the other side and waited for the tide to change, which happened quick with the west wind helping push the tide out.  We had another mystery bite on a live bait but I think it was a tarpon because the bait was in good shape and not cut up, then about 5 minutes later the same thing but this time about a 50 lb tarpon Jackson landed!  Had to chase him around a few boats but luckily everyone was helpful and got out of the way and even untied there anchor.  Combat fishing but it’s nice when people know what they are doing.  After that Shane had another mystery bite that broke us off in the bridge again possibly a tarpon.  We headed back towards home to try the channels there with the rest of our dead bait.  After about 2 moves, we saw some tarpon rolling and moved a little more to get in front of them and hooked up one more time!  But unfortunately he threw the hook.  So tough keeping them on for us today but actually good fishing getting 6 bites.  Glad we got one though that is always a good thing especially when fishing/conditions overall have been a little tougher.  Wind is gonna blow hard again tomorrow and swing back northeast, which usually isn’t a bad direction but not excited about the howling wind.  All the early spring weather we are still getting late now.  1 for 6

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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4/11/19 April Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys Calm Day

Got out with my dad and Brandon today.  Last minute cancellation on my trip that was booked!  So dad jumped at the chance.  Too bad as it was great conditions, finally a reprieve from the crazy wind we’ve had the last several days.  We weren’t really targeting tarpon, but looking in the gulf for some opportunities at whatever may be out there.  But we saw quite a few tarpon in some of the usual backcountry haunts.  We found some near some structure where we were hoping for some big snook, and ended up catching one out of two small guys there.  We also got our big snook and lost a couple others.  Later in the day we found a nice permit as well which was awesome and what we were really hoping for!  Nice when I take my dad as we don’t mind taking big risks and striking out, but sometimes it pays off.  We got real lucky finding that school of permit honestly it was like finding a needle in a haystack!  You can read my full report on my other website fishingislamorada.com  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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