Tarpon Season 2017 / Hurricane Irma Update

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Hurricane IRMA has come and gone…  Thankfully we are all still here and have been back to fishing since the beginning of October or so.  The Upper Keys are in good shape overall, at this point in late October you almost cannot even tell a hurricane impacted us if you are driving down the street, aside from the handful of small debris piles that are still about.  Though by the end of the month I think the free county pickups of debris are coming to an end so that should be about it.  The only other reason you’d know there was a storm is because some of our largest hotels in the area are still closed since they had more extensive damage.  They all were right on the ocean where the storms impact was felt the most and they have a lot of rooms to repair plus lots of landscaping work to be done.  Though I think most of them are hoping to be reopened by early 2018, and most of the smaller motels in the are are back in business.  Everything on the bayside to my knowledge is, and Key Largo has plenty of options too.  Bud n’ Mary’s where I fish out of and that my family owns is back in business though they are not quite 100%, but rooms are available and charters are departing daily.

For the numbers this year we caught 262 tarpon in 142 trips which works out to about 1.85 tarpon per trip.  Of course I will continue to update this for any more tarpon fishing I do this year.  The ratio is slightly better than my 2015 year which we caught roughly 1.75 tarpon per trip, and a good bit better than 2016 year which was about 1.44 tarpon per trip.  As always we consider a catch where we get the wind-on leader into the rod tip – this means any of the monofilament leader on the end of my braided line, which can be up to 30 feet including the ‘bite leader’.  So some of these fish we don’t always get boatside for a nice pictures, but rather we go by tournament/IGFA rules.  Also trips constitute any trip that we try tarpon fishing – whether we fish for them just for an hour, or all day – as we often fish for other things especially in the tarpon ‘off season.’

So I am fairly happy with the tarpon season this year after we had a rough year in 2016.  I hope 2018 is even better of course!  I may still do a bit of tarpon fishing now and through the winter when weather permits.  Don’t be afraid to ask me about it… if the weather is warm and conditions looks good I’m always willing to try for them.  Though it likely won’t be the main focus on my charters until Spring time rolls around again.  If you are looking to book a trip next year, I always recommend doing so early as ‘prime time’ Spring/Summer can book up quickly!  For the next few months I’ll be doing my daily fishing reports on my other website Fishing Islamorada.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

BOOKING SPECIAL – For the next few weeks I’m offering discounted fishing trips.  I rarely do this but due to Hurricane Irma business is down a bit and I’m itchin’ to get out!  So if you are interested in coming down in the next few weeks, any time before 12/23/17, mention this offer in your email to me and let’s go fishing!

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12/10/17 December Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada

Got out with Pat today down from Ohio and we had a good cold front come in last night.  The water temperatures however didn’t drop too much, though I think tonight they will.  They were still in the high 60s.  I didn’t expect much tarpon but we saw a few rolling around in a spot where we were catching some snook and drum.  We kept pitching towards rollers, hoping for a bite.  Eventually Pat fooled one and we got a nice little 20 lb fish on our light gear!  We were pitching large shrimp on 1/4 oz jigheads.  He put up a great fight and was cooperative for netting and pictures.  We normally do not bring tarpon in the boat but if they are under 40 inches like this one, it is allowed quickly for a picture.  We gave him a healthy release and said goodbye.  I haven’t been doing much tarpon fishing the last month, even though honestly we have had the weather for it.  This is the first cold snap we’ve had since the only other one we had in late October.  Otherwise it’s been warm with water temperatures in the high 70s.  Just haven’t had many people wanting to go for tarpon, and haven’t been fishing too much as November was slower than normal due to the hurricane.  Luckily December though has picked up a little more than expected, I have a busy week this week and xmas week is always very busy so hopefully I’ll make up for it.  Don’t expect to be fishing for tarpon much this week as the water temperatuers will be dipping down in the low 60s the next several days and probably stay in the high 60s through until the weekend.  Once it drops down like that they usually shut down or get pushed out, we just got lucky last night it didn’t get too cold for us today.  Anyways if you are wanting to do other fishing I’m readily available, and the snook fishing has been very good in both the warmer and cooler weather this winter.  But if we get another warm streak, the tarpon could show up big time, don’t be afraid to ask!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

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11/10/17 November Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada

Got out with Andy and his stepson Trey today.  Snook were the target but with as warm as its been I said we might get a shot at some tarpon too.  We found plenty of snook in our first stop and had some fun with them.  Later on we found a few hungry tarpon and Andy landed a nice 25 lber on light spinning tackle on a shrimp!  He didn’t cooperate for pictures we had him to the leader several times but I just couldn’t get a good shot on the net with him and eventually he pulled the hook free.  We didn’t get any more bites from them after that, but we saw some in just about every place we stopped looking for snook.  The weather has been unseasonably warm since we had an early front in October, and looks to stay that way for a little while at least.  We have a weak front hitting us tomorrow, but the temperature will only be dropping a few degrees.  Anyways if you want to have a shot at tarpon there is still time, plus other things to do too!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

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Early November Weather Update

Well we are into November and we did have some early cold weather at the end of October that more or less put an end to the tarpon fishing for a short time.  However now things have warmed up considerably and we have nice light winds for most of the week this week.  With temperatures getting back into the mid 80s and water temperatures in the high 70s… tarpon are definitely a possibility once again.  I know last time I was out we saw quite a few tarpon rolling around in the areas we were snook fishing.  So I just wanted to let everyone know that at least for this  week you could likely have a good shot.  I don’t have anything on the books at the moment until the weekend.  So if you are here and want to go tarpon fishing in islamorada in November, just give me a shout.  If conditions look reasonable like they do now, I’m game… if not I will shoot you straight and either say it’s not worth it, or we can go fish for something else!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

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10/25/17 October Half Day Tarpon Fishing Islamorada

Got out with Steve and Mario for a half day of fishing in Islamorda.  We were after some fish for dinner but I told the boys I had heard there were a few baby tarpon around some of our mangrove islands as well as snappers.  Boy did we find ’em!  We landed 3 tarpon and jumped off a couple others, in 3 different spots!  Also got a snook, various snappers, and a lemon shark as well as a nurse shark.  The place was alive!  It was actually harder getting our legal size snapper then it was hooking into tarpon surprisingly!  Well I guess the rumors I heard were true.  Not sure how long it’ll last as we have a cold front hitting tonight, though it won’t get crazy cold.  But it’d be a nice thing to have these fish around for the next few weeks makes life easy on our short half day trips!  3 for 5

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

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10/21/17 + 10/22/17 Florida Keys Tarpon in October

10/21/17 – Got out on a last minute trip with Greg and Brandy down from Michigan.  They swordfished the day before with my brother and got beat up since the winds had started howling 20 knots.  So we gave backcountry a try today.  There buddies also fished with Capt. John Johansen who I was able to wrangle up late last night to go.  We worked hard and caught some pilchards and mullet on our way out to be ready for anything.  We caught a big jack crevelle on the way over to the everglades out of a mullet mud which was fun, Greg got it on an artificial.  Once in the glades we found some baby tarpon.  Was expecting some snook but no luck with them there but we did get brandy a nice 15 lb tarpon!  We then tried a few other snook spots without much luck, but the last stop we did finally get one… Brandy again!  We then gave the big rods a shot and caught two big lemon sharks, and pulled on a few other ones that cut us off.  Not a ton of fish but at least some quality ones!

10/22/17 – Today I had Phillip and Andre down from Miami who are students living here from Switzerland.  They wanted to try for tarpon and with the weather conditions the best bet has been to stick in the protected mainland areas for them.  I did have some mullet that I caught a few days earlier but we ended up not even using them.  We did get on a good snook bite early, no little tarpon at this spot this time but we caught probably 10 snooks and lost 10 more I’d say.  We then gave the tarpon a try and found a few in one of the canals.  We had one bite we didn’t know what it was, then Phillip had a for sure tarpon bite.   Unfortunately he came unbuttoned.  Andre got a nice little juvenile cubera snapper which was a unique catch as well.  Afer that we headed home we only had a 3/4 day scheduled, but I was happy with the fishing even though we didn’t get a tarpon the snooks made the day for sure. Not booked for the next few days then I have some trips starting again next Thursday through the weekend.  If anyone wants to go, give me a shout!

1 for 1 and 0 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

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