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.
Well we’ve been in ‘winter mode’ here in the keys for the last couple months. With the cooler water temperatures tarpon aren’t really the big focus – they can still be caught but often more random by-catch while fishing for other things. But we had some unseasonably warm weather the last few days here at the end of January so decided to go really give the tarpon a try. Hundreds of them showed up over the weekend in some of the usually early season spots. We don’t normally expect them this early but it was slick calm and temperatures got into the 80s, with water temps getting into the low 70s. Still on the chilly side for tarpon as far as the water goes, but they had shown up. Had a regular customer of mine Jim today who was game to really put the time & effort in for them. Often when we’re not dialed in fishing them consistently, you have to dedicate a good bit of time trying to get some action out of tarpon – whether that be finding them, or just getting them to bite. We did mange to find plenty of them, but getting them to bite was a different story. Put a good couple hours in during the morning and managed a bite on pinfish. Nice tarpon of 80 lbs we got boat side but a big bullshark tried to eat her, and ended up cutting her off. Later in the day when the tide switched, we managed to get one on our mullet. Smaller fish in the 40-50 lb range. This one we got hands on and cooperated for a good picture. Good to see so many fish out there, it’s still on the early side and we have some cold weather coming this weekend and next week, so that will likely slow them down. But often times in February it gets consistently warm enough that we have decent tarpon fishing. I have a feeling the fish are ready and that it’ll be good once the cold fronts are done.
Well tarpon season we can say is officially at a close. While we still catch some tarpon through the winter here in Islamorada, it’s very hit & miss and especially not good as the water temperatures drop in the 70 degree and below range. But usually by February we are starting to target the elusive silver king again. This year of course was a bit mixed up dur to COVID during our peak of tarpon season. Though fishing was relatively good during that time frame the few times I got out and early season February/March was pretty good as well. The summer July through September I’ll say was fair overall, and October was not very good for tarpon this year. Every year is different and we are lucky to have a good 9 months of the year to have the possibility of good tarpon fishing. But for the next few months the everglades will be home to plenty of snook, redfish, drum, sheepshead, trout, and more. I’m still chartering regularly but more focused on that fishing. You can check out my other website http://www.fishingislamorada.com for more updated reports on that, or of course our YouTube channel for great fishing videos.
Got out with Carl and Jeff today for a quick 3/4 day trip. We blacked out the cooler with nice mullet yesterday… nice thing this time of year I’m not fishing every day, so I often try to catch bait on my days off so I’m well prepared. The fall bait run has started and at least this week there have been plenty of mullet around so that has been easy. We looked in a few spots early for tarpon and actually didn’t see a whole lot. So we went snook fishing for an hour and crushed the snook catching about 3 dozen or so. Then we went looking for more tarpon and checked another area I hadn’t fished in the last few weeks for them but was good earlier this month. Sure enough there were some fish there, we set up and after about 20 minutes or so, Carl was hooked up to a nice 50 lb tarpon. After that the boys were getting a little hungry we fished another 20 minutes but we headed back in about 30 minutes early. Probably could’ve scratched another bite out of we really wanted to but they were plenty happy. Anyways October is right around the corner and can still be a great month for tarpon. I’ve got some open days throughout the month but I will say it’s filling in fairly quickly. It’s truly one of my favorite months of the year to fish as fall isn’t quite so busy and with the bait runs and weather changes, it’s often very productive. Give me a shout if you are interested in going out!
Well I haven’t been fishing a whole lot as we’re into September, our slowest month of the year for business. But I did get out the last couple of days and the first day we tarpon fished for a bit of it. Found a massive school of fish in one of the usual backcountry haunts… We ended up catching three in about an hour – very good fishing! Including one nice size 60ish lber. Got some great video footage I put together which you can watch below, also including the rest of my fishing report from the second day. Right now not much going on until the end of this week, and I have a few days open at the end of the month. The beginning of October is also fairly open for me though I start getting a bit busiest mid-october. So if you are wanting to come on down, it’s a great time to fish! I especially love October as we often get the fall bait run going and it can be some of the best fishing of the year.
Well it’s officially off season now here in the Keys. Fishing is still really good but not a whole lot of people fishing this time of year as it’s just not too busy. The threat of storms and school starting back keeps the crowds away. So it’s often a great time to come enjoy our piece of paradise if you want to have it a little more to yourself. Right now there are a few tropical systems brewing out there but we have yet to see if they’ll affect us. I always work with people this time of year so if you make a reservation and it looks to be in jeopardy due to weather, don’t worry we can reschedule, cancel, whatever we need to do.
Now on to the fishing… the tarpon bite has been pretty good the last couple of days. I’ve had tarpon action on every trip with exception to one. It got a little slower right around the full moon, we still managed a couple fish one day. The day after we only tried for about 45 minutes and didn’t get a bite but went on to other stuff. But the last two days were good we caught 4 out of 6 two days ago, and 1 out of 4 yesterday. We also caught 2 very large snook one day while tarpon fishing, and another decently large one the day after that which was really cool. We will have a nice stretch of weather coming up next week as it’s been fairly windy here this week for this time of year… so it might get even better!
Give me a shout if you are looking to schedule a trip. I have plenty of days open and will probably still offer a few discounted trips to those who ask ahead of time. But I’ve almost got enough days booked this month that I’ll probably stop offering them soon!