2018 Fall Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys

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*** October Discount Specials ***
For the first half of October since I’m not so busy right now, I am offering discounted trip rates.  E-mail me for details!

We are into September and I must report that today fishing was absolutely epic!  There were tons of tarpon around – more than I’ve seen since July when we had the best month I’ve ever had tarpon fishing here in Islamorada.  There were hundreds of fish all around us today for more or less the whole day on both tides.  I also happen to know that several other channel areas were loaded with tarpon as well.  We look to have similar conditions today for the next week or so and then maybe even more so after that.  I haven’t fished a whole lot this month as I was on vacation but earlier in the month we did have some decent tarpon fishing as well earlier this month, but now that we’ve got the calm weather it’s really turning on.

Fall usually gives us the last good blast of tarpon fishing we have before winter comes and we say goodbye to the tarpon until the spring again.  Every year it’s a little different as to where, when, and how long it lasts.  But the jist of it is we start to get some of the first northeasterly breezes just cooling things off a hair.  This starts pushing big schools of bait down the coast, and many of the tarpon that have been spending the summer up north work their way back down.  Some years it lasts for a month or more, some times you only see it a handful of days.  But right now I can say we’ve had a ton of tarpon around and it looks to be an early start to the ‘fall bait run’ tarpon fishing conditions.  There isn’t quite yet a whole ton of bait, but the tarpon are there and waiting.

We usually get this fishing best in October, however as I said it appears to be started a little early.  Who knows if it has anything to do with weather patterns, or maybe some of the bad fishing conditions they’ve had further north of us due to algae etc…  But I would say these next couple weeks look to be very good if the winds stay calm which they are forecast too.  Give me a shout if you are looking to get out.  I will shoot you straight as I don’t like to over promise and under deliver, and it’s off season so I don’t mind moving days around if necessary to give you the best possible shot at landing a silver king.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
305-747-6903

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9/24/18 Late September Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada

Got out with Brandi and her parents Sidney and Carol.  Brandi was down from NY and her parents live in South Carolina, taking a break due to the recent hurricane up there.  They had wanted to fish a few days ago but I was booked, but were able to make it work out today.  Sidney wanted to catch a tarpon and I told them I was their guy!  We headed out early and went after some bait.  I went yesterday just to try and stock up on some bait as I’m booked all this week now, but it was tough we didn’t get much and by the time I found good bait, it was too late and they weren’t very catchable.  But we went to the right spot early today and we got them fairly good which is nice so I have a bit of bait for the next few days too if they are hard again.  We found some tarpon in closer then where I had been going, thanks to a good report from a fellow captain.  They were flopping and jumping around pretty good and some larger fish too, 30 to 60 lbers, not like the 20-30 lbs I’d been getting lately.  We hooked a double header to start and landed both fish, but the bigger one took a while as he was foul hooked so we didn’t get a picture with both as I didn’t want to take a chance of the smaller one dying while we fought the bigger one.  After that we got another nice one for Brandi about a 60 lber!  After that we moved around a bit, I could see tarpon jumping about as far as I could see so a lot of fish spread out but wow what a school.  The next move we started to miss a few fish, we jumped off two big ones right in a row and had a third one grab a bait and make a huge boil and drop it, and then Carol got to land hers about a 50 lber.  We called it a morning after that.  Just great fishing and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  It was a full moon which I sometimes don’t like but that did not bother the fish at all.  Back at it tomorrow as I said I think we will have another week of epic September tarpon fishing.  4 for 7.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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9/22/18 September Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys, Islamorada

Got out with Jara and Michael today down from Stuart.  We fished a 3/4 day and got a good early start.  Bait was not as easy as yesterday, but we worked at it and got what we needed.  The tide was bottomed out first thing yesterday whereas today we had to wait an hour for that and by then the sun was up, but we were able to pick at them until that point anyhow.  We found tarpon where we left them yesterday.  Didn’t see as active today as we didn’t see them jumping around, flopping, splashing, as much.  But they were there.  We had to move around a little too.  But Michael got a couple nice ones early one.  Jara had one to the leader that popped off, then later after a move got another one to the hand that didn’t cooperate for a picture, then finally got one that we were careful with that she was able to hold for a picture!  We also got some sharks including a couple big lemons and several blacktips.  Great day of fishing for sure!  I have the next couple of days open, and Wednesday as well.  If anyone wants to go give me a shout I think it’ll stay good!  5 for 10

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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9/21/18 Everglades Tarpon Fishing in September

Banner day for Pete and Bonnie who were visiting from San Diego. Pete sent me a message a few days ago asking about tarpon fishing, I told him I hadn’t been fishing much in the last week as it’s off season but the few times I’d been earlier this month, it’s been really good. September has really been on fire and I really wish I had more customers right now, but you do need a little break sometimes. Anyways we gave it a whirl. Conditions looked pretty good it was slick calm yesterday but today we had a light northeasterly breeze, nice as it cooled things off a little bit. Bait was not too bad which was great too as it had been a little tougher finding the right bait the last month. We looked around and found a handful of tarpon early on on the last of the falling tide, but the water looked really ugly with lots of mud and just didn’t feel right. So we fished another area close by while we waited for the tide to change. I was hoping when the tide came in, some more tarpon and life would come with it. We didn’t catch much where we were but that gave enough time for the tide to swing around, and we went and checked and found a good group of tarpon. Right away Bonnie landed a nice one first bait out. Then we proceeded to catch a bunch more! We hooked a couple double headers though I don’t think we ever landed two at once, but it got hard to keep track of to be honest. We did have one 60 lber we hooked that spit the bait, and as soon as it hit the water another 25 lber ate it again it was incredible! The tarpon chewed voraciously for a good two hours and both Pete and Bonnie each landed multiple fish, almost losing count of the bites. I had told them I didn’t mind keeping them out a couple extra hours if we didn’t have good fishing being off season and all, but that was not a problem! The last 30 minutes or so though the tarpon seemed to shut right off as quickly as they turned on, but we had caught plenty and had some soar arms. We headed on back making it a nice 3/4 day trip, doesn’t get better than that. As far as the tarpon ratio per trip goes, September has been the best fishing I’ve had all year! While I’ve only been out a half dozen days, we’ve hammered them every day. Looks like conditions will be similar throughout the next week or so. I’ve got Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday open this coming week, and then plenty of days in early October. Give me a shout if you want to get in on the tail end of tarpon season here in the Florida Keys it’s been epic!  9 for 13

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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9/13/18 September Fishing for tarpon in the Everglades

Great day fun fishing with my dad, Rich, and Mike. Business has slowed down and all of a sudden I have about the next two weeks open. Fishing has been ridiculously good with stellar conditions, so I couldn’t help myself and figured we’d go have some fun! We got into the tarpon good early on and started the day jumping off a couple smaller fish, then Mike got a nice 60 lber and while fighting that, Rich got about a 20 lber for a double header! Unfortunately the big one didn’t stick around for a picture when we got him on the leader. Most of those tarpon were small, which we are legally allowed to lift up for pictures (very carefully and quickly of course). The big ones we don’t do that with we leave them in the water for a quick boatside picture. After that we caught one more and then hooked something that was fighting a little different. I said good chance it’s a big snook and sure enough it was, close to a 20 lber! Just spectacular love seeing those big fish like that we don’t catch them like that every day. After that we moved around a little and found some hard bottom structure that I like. There were more tarpon here and we soon caught another one! After that we hooked up a double header, a smaller tarpon and something that was fighting a little strange. I told the crew that a few days ago there were some porker redfish out there, and sure enough up came a big 25 lb redfish! That trick didn’t work the rest of the day though trying to call them out, but it was very cool to see those big redfish and snook. We caught a couple more tarpon there and a few sharks and then left those fish alone after that. We ran around the mainland areas just checking out a few spots and seeing what things looked like. We found a few small redfish and snook and a black drum in one area, so we caught 3 backcountry SLAMS which was awesome! After that we decided to head on back and caught some bait on the way home. But what a day landing 6 tarpon, and a good handful of snook and redfish including two porkers of each species!  6 for 8

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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9/11/18 September Islamorada Tarpon Fishing Report

Another banner day today with Ralph and Greg down from NJ! I got in touch with the boys last night and they were on vacation visiting the Keys. Tarpon was a request so I told them we have had good fishing as of late, but the bait catching has been a little bit of a struggle. Though if they were willing to go early and put the time and effort into the bait it could pay off handsomely! We opted for that and headed out. Bait was tough of course but it was better than yesterday. We had to work very hard at it, making lots of mess and getting mud and weed all over the boat trying to net the bait. But after a few throws it started to get a little easier and we got a couple good tosses with some good numbers of bait fish. We headed out to the areas where we found tarpon yesterday and they were right where we left them! First two baits out we missed a double header, then the next two baits out we hooked a double header and landed both fish! Nice start the boys each landed a tarpon within the first 20 minutes or the trip! After that we jumped off several more tarpon, got a big blacktip shark, then Ralph landed another tarpon. We moved around a bit and jumped off a few more tarpon. They just aren’t staying on the hook very well right now and not super aggressive bites, rather ones where they jump and spit it as soon as they feel anything so you have to hope to get lucky that the hook sticks them before they do that. Anyways after a move Greg hooked into a nicer size fish and landed a good 60 lb tarpon! After that the tide stared to slow down and I knew the boys had requested to try and catch some dinner. So we left the tarpon alone and caught a bunch of trout though most were fairly small. We did make one more stop and got a nice mangrove snapper on our artificials for a little appetizer for the guys at least, then it was time to head on home. Tarpon fishing is still very good and the winds are suppose to slick off tomorrow for the foreseeable future. The fall condition feels like it’s here and lots of tarpon are around. I had a cancellation Thursday due to the hurricane hitting the Carolinas, so I’m available. Right now I even have a load of bait fish ready to go and as I said the baits not easy right now – so you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than that for a tarpon fishing trip. Give me a ring let’s go fishing!  4 for 14

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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