Tarpon Season 2017

We’re well into May and this year is going by fast!  Fishing this season has been pretty good, I’ll say definitely better than 2016 by what I’ve seen.  Though probably not quite as good as the few years before that.  We had a lot of wind in April, and although February/early March was warm and we had decent ‘early season’ fishing for tarpon, later March and April on a whole was cooler than normal.  A few late fronts coupled with 20-25 mph winds never let the water warm up much past the mid 70 degree range.  This made the tarpon fishing a little difficult, but for the most part I still had pretty solid fishing considering the not so favorable conditions.  I had recently just fished a couple of tougher half day trips where we just couldn’t get tarpon to bite though did manage some sharks, but today we had a whole day and that gave us time to fish multiple areas/tide, and we had a banner day today landing four tarpon.  We’re coming off  the full moon and had a late cold front hit us a a little under a week ago, so I think that had messed the fish up a little bit but hopefully there back to normal now.  It’s definitely starting to feel like ‘summer time’ as waters get into the 80 degree range and the winds have subsided to under 10 mph most days.  This is my favorite time of year for tarpon fishing, as the conditions are stable and the fish are much more predictable!

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.   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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5/22/17 May Tarpon Fishing Everglades Full Day Florida Keys

Got out on a two boat trip today along with Capt. Mike Bassett.  Tarpon was on the agenda and I had a good bit of bait from yesterday still.  We found some tarpon in one of the backcountry channels and had caught the tide change.  After 20 minutes it was coming in OK, tarpon were rolling frequently.  We couldn’t get them to bite though, made a couple little moves but no luck.  The sharks were active and we got some bonnet heads and a big lemon shark.  We then ran further back and had to look around a little, but saw a few signs of them busting and splashing.  Again had to make a couple moves, had fish literally jumping behind the boat, and finally got one to eat!  Landed a nice 50 lb fish and then jumped off another one about 30 lbs.  We also got some big sharks including a couple hammerheads, and had a triple tail eat our tarpon bait that we caught as well.  We hit the channels on the way home again, and caught plenty of blacktips and then the last bait out we got a 90 lb tarpon to finish the day!  All in all a great day, have the same crew tomorrow we are going to tarpon fish some and then mix it up with snook hopefully at the end of the day!  2 for 3

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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5/20/17 Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing in May

Got out with Matt Newman and his son Aiden today.  We fished a 3/4 day and mixed it up a bit.  Did snappers and trout early, and that was pretty good fishing.  It was nice to not have to stress about catching tarpon after just fishing hard for them the last 5 days in not so great conditions especially the last 3 days!  But we did give the tarpon a try for the last hour of the day.  Set up near the bridge where we had hooked one late yesterday, and within 10 minutes or so, Aiden was on a nice 80 lb fish!  Great fight and we landed him quickly in about 20 minutes or so.  After that we fished a little longer but no more bites and headed home.  It’s nice when fishing is easy and a plan comes together.  Off tomorrow I think then fishing Monday through Thursday and out of town for the following weekend.  Looks like it’ll be a good week or fishing with light winds.  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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5/19/17 May Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada Florida

Last day with Pete and crew today.  We stayed local around town, winds were still kicking though not as bad as the last couple of days, 15-20 most of the day not 25+.  Tides were still messed up from the hard winds and didn’t start/stop on schedule.  We found some fish in a few spots early but they didn’t want to play.  We finally had a little action later near afternoon time.  We had one bite by a bridge but unfortunately it was hung in the bottom and the line got cut right when the fish took off and jumped.  Later on the slack tide at another bridge, we had a nice 100+ lb fish eat though he went ballistic, charging the boat and then going the other way and jumping.  Somehow the hook didn’t stay in him though, the line was chaffed about 2 feet up so he had swallowed the bait, but it all came out bait and all.  Oh well, we were due to miss a few, the boys had caught fish on all 4 of the other trips and I think caught 9 in total in 5 days, not too bad considering the last 3 days were very tough conditions.  Tomorrow I’m scheduled for a full day not sure what we are gonna fish for, then off sunday.  Monday it looks like it’ll get nice again so hopefully we’ll have a good week of tarpon fishing.  0 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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5/18/17 May Tarpon Fishing Islamorada Windy Day

The wind was howling again today 25 knots or so… really kicking!  We stayed close today as I had Pete & crew again and wanted to just do something different.  We fished the backcountry the last 3 days and with the winds howling like they are, figured we’d just try staying close.  The tides were very weird with a weak falling tide and hard wind, it didn’t seem to move much early.  We didn’t get a bite early on, but on the 2nd stop after sitting for an hour or so, we hooked a nice 80 lb fish that we landed relatively quickly.  Pulled the hook but well after we had him to the leader several times, just couldn’t get him to stay turned for the boatside picture.  After that a couple other boats in the area also hooked up, and that was it.  We decided to run down to some of the other bigger bridges and channels.  Marked quite a few fish on the bottom and saw one roll… I figured we’d wait it out.  We caught a few sharks, then hooked a nice 100 lb tarpon!  Another fairly quick fight we landed him in 15 minutes or so, but again had him on the leader and he chaffed through it before we could get him to lay still, but at least got a good jump shot of him.  After that things slowed down no more bites, but on a windy day like this to catch two is very good that’s for sure!  Anyways tomorrow is the last day hopefully our lucky streak will continue.  Looks like monday things will get nice again hopefully for a little while anyways, I’m ready for the calm days of summer to be here!  2 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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5/17/17 Full Day May Florida Keys Fishing for Tarpon

Got out for a full day with Pete and crew again today.  The winds kicked up good last night and it was howling 25 mph today out of the east.  We ran into the backcountry and tried the channels early.  It was pretty muddy and had the last couple hours of incoming tide.  Nothing but sharks in the first stop, then nothing at all in the second stop.  We ventured out off the mainland to give it a whirl out there since we’d seen a good amount of fish their the last couple days.  Didn’t see much with our eyes, but did end up catching one thankfully and got one more shark.  Moved once and nothing after that.  We tried inside the big canal off the cape for the last bit, and had a  couple shark bites, and that was all she wrote.  Was glad to get one on a windy day like today, two more days with the boys I think we may stay local tomorrow.  Fishing got tough and will probably stay that way until the wind lays down a little, hopefully we can make it happen again.  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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