2019 Islamorada Tarpon Season is here!

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We’re into February and I’ve officially had my first tarpon charter a few days ago.  It was a success and we caught a couple!  I have not been since but conditions have been favorable with it definitely being warm enough, and quite a few fish in the couple places I looked anyways.  February is just the beginning and we can easily get big wind events or late cold fronts that slow things right down, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s looking decent for early season fishing.  It’s usually not the time where you are going to expect to catch multiple fish every day, but rather if you put your time in you may get one or two if you are lucky.  I’m mostly booked up through May, though I do have a handful of days left later this month, and some days in march too.  I am taking Fridays and Saturdays off through July so those will not be available, however if I don’t have plans those days it will be nice for my customers as I’ll usually be willing to switch days around if conditions look bad and they are able to switch around.

I’m also going to be having a new guide, Capt. Rich Hasting, run some evening tarpon charters on my boat starting in March.  I have not been doing evening trips since last year since I have two young baby boys at home now, and to be honest not as many guides are doing them these days anymore.  He has been a fly fishing guide in Colorado for years, and started working at the marina here several years ago dreaming of starting a guiding business which is what he’s doing now.  He’s got a good few years of experience fishing down here under his belt, and will be running trips on my SeaCraft from 5PM to 9PM (later than the standard 4 to 8, which is a better window of fishing most of the time).  He’s a hard young worker and truly loves fishing, so I feel confident that clients will have a great time with him.

Also I’m offering discounted trip rates for the 2019 off season (September through November).  I’ve normally not really offered discounts on my trips for a variety of reasons, however next year as mentioned I’m taking more days off in the busy season so I really would like to fill my off season in a little more.  If you are interested in coming down at that time you can get some good deals on fishing and room rates.  Once I start to fill in those days though I may no longer off these great rates, so start planning early if you can!  September and October can still be good months for tarpon, November is not as much but we have really good fishing for other species.  Check out my discounted trip rates here.

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.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
305-747-6903

Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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2/13/19 February tarpon islamorada

Got out with Rick and Greg today.  It was nasty weather but we gave it a go.  Had to eat some rain but it wasn’t too bad for a while, had one squall line to run through and had at least a couple hours after that without more rain.  But then it drizzled the rest of the trip.  We caught a bunch of redfish to start our day.  Then we found some tarpon in the backcountry channels.  More than I’d seen as of late and they were free jumping putting on a show.  But not interested in our baits, we caught plenty of sharks including a few bruiser blacktips.  We bailed after some heavier rain moved in and caught some snappers around the islands and called it a day.

There is a better tarpon bite locally around town, it’s not red hot fishing but I know a few are being caught.  But to be honest it’s hard to sit so close to home as many of those spots are 5-10 minutes away….  So if you really really want a tarpon that’s a better bet, but it’s sometimes hard to make a day of it as there aren’t nearly as many good options that close to home as there are in the backcountry.  Anyways it should get better back there after this cold front moves through we have some calm weather over the weekend where things should warm back up.  0 for 0

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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2/12/19 February Islamorada Tarpon Report

Tried for tarpon a bit today with Adam and his dad Jim.  Conditions were pretty favorable early with a light wind, though south not my favorite direction.  We ran over a herd of mullet first thing and were able to catch a bunch.  I had high hopes with a bunch of bait!  We checked some channels, and found a few tarpon though not a ton.  We had a shark on first, and then Adam jumped a nice tarpon while we fought that!  Unfortunately that was the last tarpon action we had.  We fished until the tide quit and then caught a bunch of redfish while we waited for it to change.  Then we tried a couple other areas where we saw tarpon in both, but just not in a good mood.  The winds kicked up a little more and the water still on the chilly side.  Just couldn’t get them going but we did catch quite a few sharks.  We decided to bail on it and still had plenty of time to catch some tripletail and finish up the day with a few snook.  0 for 1

The tarpon fishing is just hit or miss right now, and again there are so many other good options it’s hard sometimes to dedicate the day to it… so unless I have clients who really want to go all in, we are usually just giving it an hour or so shot unless it looks like it’ll be really good.  We do have another cold front tomorrow night, not getting super cold just down to low 60s, but won’t help the tarpon fishing any.  Though it should be a good thing for later in the season, as sometimes when things get started super early we have a tougher May and June.  But we’ll see what happens back at it tomorrow.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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2/10/19 + 2/11/19 February Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

2/10/19 – Well we gave it a shot for a short while both today and yesterday for some tarpon.  Didn’t really expect too much as the winds were cranking 20-25mph yesterday, and a good 20 mph today.  But the guys wanted to give it a shot.  Yesterday we tried some of the areas where we had caught a couple fish last week.  We only tried for about 45 minutes, I gave a good look around and we never for sure even saw a tarpon.  We did get a few sharks though.  But we caught plenty of other fish including a bunch of mangrove snapper for dinner, some spanish mackerel, and tons of redfish to finish up the day.  Nice thing right now there is so much other good fishing, you can usually have an easy out if the tarpon aren’t cooperating.  0 for 0

2/11/19 – Today my guys wanted to try and catch some snook as they hadn’t caught those before.  But they didn’t mind spending a little time for tarpon if possible.  I had not been way up the coast yet and wanted to see if anything was up there tarpon wise.  I also knew the redfish and snook fishing had reportedly been pretty good, so I felt OK taking the gamble to see and falling back on the other stuff.  We did find a decent school of tarpon early on, but smaller resident size fish in the 20 to 40 lb range… not the big herd of 80+ lb migratory fish I was expecting.  We set up and they kind of spread out and left as soon as we had baits out.  A few hung around, but we did not get a bite, and after 30 minutes or so we didn’t see many signs of them.  Anyways after that we left them alone and caught plenty of redfish, a good handful of snook, some small goliath groupers, some nice sea trout, and a few other odds and ends.  0 for 0

May try to give the tarpon a whirl tomorrow, but as of now it’s real hit or miss.  Should get better when the winds calm down and it warms up slightly more.  But if you really want one and are willing to invest the day to it, it’s definitely possible.

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2/6/19 February Tarpon Fishing Charter in Islamorada

Well got out for my first official tarpon trip of the year today with Garrett, Kim, and Finley.  Garrett was wanting to fish with me last year but I was already booked, so this time he booked well in advance.  We were planning on mixing it up a little with the fishing, but tarpon was definitely on his list.  The day was nice with a little northeasterly wind, not too bad.  We ran out and caught some spanish mackerel to start the day.  That kept us busy for an hour, and then we decided to look for some tarpon.  I checked some of the usual early season haunts, and the first place we stopped we saw a good slug of tarpon which was nice to see!  Within about 10 minutes, we were hooked up and Garrett had a nice 70 lber on that we landed!  A few good jumps and a show, and got some good boatside pictures.  After that we moved around a little, and the tarpon thinned out somewhat.  We caught a few sharks including a monster blacktip then the tide quit.  We decided to try to catch a few redfish while waiting for the tide to come in, which we caught one.  Then a buddy of mine phoned me and said the tarpon were starting to get active again.  We ran back to another area nearby, and again within 10 minutes, Kim had a nice tarpon on of roughly the same size 70 lbs or so.  We fought him and got the fish boatside as well, though unfortunately he came unbuttoned while we were trying to get pictures but a good catch none the less.  After that a few more sharks including a big lemon shark and it was time to go home.  Well a successful start to tarpon season, looks like thing will stay warm so the fish should stick around unless we have a hard cold front.  If the wind cranks it may slow it down a little depending where you are trying to fish, but I’d say it looks like a solid start to the season.  I’m not focused on tarpon for my charter tomorrow, we may give it a whirl for a short amount of time, but we’ll see.  Then I’m off Friday and Saturday.  Full week next week, but I have openings the 17th and 20th of this month, and some days still open in March.  Give me a shout if you want to get out after the silver king!  2 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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1/29/18 Late January Tarpon in the Everglades

Got out with Jim and Gwen today two of my long time customers.  We had a cold chilly morning but light winds that faded.  We had some very nice snook, plenty of redfish and black drum, some trout, and even a few sheepshead.  But we also managed to get lucky and hook a couple tarpon!  Gwen landed hers, though we did not get good pictures as it broke off while leadering it and trying to get it into the net.  It was a smaller tarpon so would’ve been able to pick up for a quick pic.  Jim hooked one the last stop of the day too!  However we weren’t really ready for it and he made a quick jump and through the hook as Jim was setting the hook thinking it was a big snook.  Anyways great to see and fun to get one.  Not usually expected on these cold january days but it happens.  February is right around the corner and we usually start getting some bigger tarpon then when things warm up some.  It’ll start being a regular thing here soon I imagine!  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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