Tarpon Season 2017

June is almost half way over, time is just flying by!  Now and the next couple months is typically my favorite time of year for tarpon fishing, as the winds generally subside and we get a lot of our ‘summer time’ tarpon in the backcountry showing up.  Overall we’ve had nice weather for tarpon fishing in June, with overcast/rainy days keeping the heat down and the fish happy (and not getting us too wet).  Though we did have a short bout with some funky southwest wind, though now we are forecast for nice easterly wind for the coming week.  Fishing has been decent so far this June, though I will say it hasn’t been very predictable.  Not very often has it been where I am going to one spot first thing in the morning, sitting for a couple hours, and getting multiple bites.  More having to move around two, three, four times before getting into fish.  Though often times when we’ve gotten into them, you get a good rally and have a shot to catch multiple tarpon in a short window of time.  A few years ago the fishing was much easier and you didn’t have to think about it as much and the fish were staying in channels for longer periods, more predictably.  As you’d get dialed in on a spot it would produce for several weeks some times… not this year (nor last year for that matter).  So i’ve been telling most people that you just have to go all in for tarpon some days, and usually after you’ve made three or four moves, your chances of getting into fish on the next stop are increasing as you’ve covered some ground.   Also fishing different tides can play a big part in finding fish, and having more time gives you the opportunity to fish both tides during the day.  Though I think as we get further into the summer it will get a little easier as the tarpon get back into more typical routines and the spawn ends.  I will say so far this year though, June has already been much better than last year…  We’ve landed 26 fish in 10 trips, whereas in 2016 we landed 24 fish in 17 trips, but as mentioned previously it hasn’t come easily we’ve really had to work at it.

I’m usually recommending from here on out fishing full day or 3/4 day trips.  Being that I’ve just had a child a couple months ago, I’m still not doing any evening trips, and the local half day fishing during the mornings gets a little more hit and miss as the mullet start to thin out locally around Islamorada.   On the evening half day trips you can rely more on your crab fishing, and that gets better as you get closer to dark especially on the falling tides.  However with the morning half day trips it’s the opposite, so if you don’t hit ’em first thing often your fishing gets tougher and tougher.  You can definitely still catch them locally on half day trips, but for me I am just dialed in on the early morning everglades thing, so that is what I prefer.  That again just requires at least a 3/4 day as it’s an hour run or more going back there.  Getting out there early gives you some very good opportunities, and bait is often much easier to catch.

I’m pretty much all booked up through the end of June, though may possibly have a day open here or there so don’t be afraid to ask.  July is filling in nicely and about half way filled up.  July, August, and even September/October can still be very good for tarpon fishing though it isn’t always the case.  July usually always is a very good month, August is a little more hit and miss but is usually pretty good at least for the first couple weeks.  Last year we had some of the best tarpon fishing we had all year in September and October believe it or not, just check out my reports those months!  If you are interested in tarpon fishing drop me a line, if I’m not available I’m more than happy to make recommendations.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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6/23/17 June Full Day Tarpon Fishing Charter

Got out with Rob and his sons today for some tarpon fishing in islamorada.  We headed out early and I had bait leftover from the last couple of days.  We focused on tarpon and we hit a channel I hadn’t fished in a little while to start.  It paid off and within 15 minutes we had a nice tarpon on!  After that it quieted down though we moved and caught a bunch of sharks, and then one more move without much of anything.  Tide was still falling hard and I went and took a peek around some other channels further east near flamingo.  Unfortunately with the hard south wind a few days ago, the water was still very very muddy and just didn’t look very fishy at all.  So we didn’t even fish there just looked around but didn’t look worthwhile.  We headed out west to try off the mainland.  Saw a tarpon in one area as we were running, but tried fishing there without much luck.  Then we headed out further and saw another one but this time there was a good pack of fish.  We ended up catching three more and jumped a couple others off.  All smaller fish in the 10 to 30 lb range, but lots of fun!  We also caught several more sharks.  Anyways glad we stuck with it sometimes thats what you have to do, especially this year it seems!  Hopefully the wind will lay down one day and it’ll be like normal summer – one can always dream!  So the ‘hit and miss’ pattern continues as I’ve been preaching on here, some consistency would be great.  4 for 6

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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6/22/17 June Tarpon Fishing Islamorada

Got out for an extended half day with Peter today.  We weren’t going to focus on tarpon for long but did give it a good shot for the first hour of the day, which is when we had most of our action yesterday.  We went to the same spot but unfortunately didn’t have a tarpon bite, though we did catch several sharks.  Pretty much a perfect example of how the fishing has been the last month – catch ’em good one day, and then they are gone the next!  Anyways after the hour had passed, the tide quit and we went and did some other stuff which wasn’t all that easy either but we did catch a few snappers for dinner and a couple trout and ladyfish.  Full day focused on tarpon tomorrow, hopefully they will cooperate.  0 for 0

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6/21/17 June Islamorada Tarpon Fishing Report

Got out for a full day with Paul and his father today.  Winds were out of the south still a little windy, but not quite as crazy as yesterday.  We tried to fish close early where I had been having luck the last several trips, however another boat had moved in on my spot and beat me out there.  Wasn’t the start to my day that I wanted!  Anyways we were going to move to another area in that spot but there was even a 2nd boat there now too, so I got frustrated and just left.  We ran out into the backcountry and ended up getting lucky and finding a good school of tarpon in one of the channels.  We caught one on the last of the falling tide, then as soon as it started in we had 3 more bites and landed 2 more.  It was a great flurry of action and to be honest with it blowing 15-20 out of the south, I wasn’t expecting it to be so good but was really just hoping we’d get a bite or two throughout the day.  Anyways after 9:30 it was over, we also had caught some sharks including a big nurse shark and bull shark, as well as blacktips and bonnetheads.  W spent some time reupping on mullet as I went through all the bait I had, and we then fished another channel to finish it up.  Made a couple moves in there but no more tarpon action, though we did catch plenty of blacktips.  After that called it a day.  Have a half day tomorrow but may just do some rod bending not sure yet.  Looks like the winds will be steadily getting nicer as we get into the weekend, hopefully it’ll get 10 mph and under and the backcountry fishing will fire up more!  3 for 4

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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6/20/17 Islamorada Tarpon Fishing in June Half Day

Got out with Christian and his dad Jim today over from Louisiana.  We had a full day scheduled but it was blowing 25 knots out of the south… very snotty so I said a half day would be best just sticking close by.  Most boats ended up cancelling today, so they agreed and want to get out so we went for it.  Ended up hooking a big 110 lb or so tarpon within the first 15 minutes!  Christian battled him well and caught him quickly within 20 minutes or so.  Got some good pictures and released her to fight another day.  After the the sharks moved in a little… some little blacktips, bonnetheads, and did get a nice 50 lb bull shark.  We moved a few times and didn’t have any more tarpon action.  I was limited on bait but we caught a dozen more mullet which was good.  We tried a couple more spots, the last one we saw a few tarpon roll and the tide had started to fall so I thought we might get another shot.  But unfortunately no we gave it a good 30 minutes and stayed a little longer since I knew they wanted to be out for the day, but it didn’t happen again for us.  Anyways the wind was still cranking and rain storms were moving through so time to go.  Glad to get one on a day like today!  Back at it tomorrow, the winds are suppose to die down to 10-15 through the weekend which will be much nicer.  Hopefully the tarpon get happier too!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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6/19/17 Half Day Tarpon Fishing Charter in June

Got out with Sarah and Barry again today for our final trip.  A couple days ago we absolutely smashed it with multiple tarpon and a bunch of snook and few redfish.  Today though conditions changed and it was blowing 25 mph out of the south.  I knew fishing would be difficult with the conditions, as yesterday it wasn’t quite as windy but we struggled for a single bite.  We left a little earlier in the dark and hit one of the local areas.  After 45 minutes or so barry hooked into a nice 70 lb fish.  We were marking several on the machine too before that.  We made fairly short work of the fish and headed back.  Things seemed to quiet down, so I moved further down the channel, and didn’t see much but after 20 minutes, Sarah got into a nice fish.  Not sure how big but it was dumping line, so I’d say easily a 100+ lber.  Unfortunately as we were chasing her, Sarah had tightened the drag a little too tight and the wind-on leader just snapped!  Strange because that is 60 lb test and it popped way high up on it, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a part of the line that would’ve had much weakness to it…  Anyways this is a good lesson and could happen to anyone, as logically thinking you may want to tighten the drag to slow a fish down from running so much.  However with tarpon… never tighten the drag real tight when a big fish is dumping line, unless you are about to run out of line.  You’ll never stop a big tarpon with drag alone, and all that will happen is you’ll have too much pressure on the line and it’ll break at whatever point is weakest (usually at the knots, though in this case just the line itself snapped), or the fish will jump and possibly throw the hook (the more drag/pressure on the line, the greater chance a hook will be thrown when a fish jumps, especially if you are slow to bow to them).  And with big fish that can move erratically and pull hard, sometimes you don’t realize you have a weak spot until it does snap.  You only want to tighten the drag down hard when you have the fish mostly subdued and he is no longer making long, hard runs or going crazy jumping… basically when he is already ‘caught’ and you are just trying to subdue for a picture.  Anyhow at least we had caught the other fish, and both Sarah and Barry had landed multiple tarpon on our other trip, so no big deal.  After that unfortunately the bite was pretty much over with, we didn’t see much more for tarpon though in the last stop we made we did see a fish roll but didn’t get a bite out of it.  Scheduled for a full day tomorrow but we may cut it short and try to do what we did today.  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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