2019 Islamorada Tarpon Season is here!

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So we’re into August and I’ve been fishing some this week having just gotten back from vacation last weekend.  The tarpon bite has been a little slow to be honest but we’ve still been getting shots most every day.  Seems like early in the morning is often the best shot right now.  The other day we really only saw a decent amount of fish in one area and that was right after day break.  Today however we found fish in 3 different spots, but only got a bite each in two of those spots.  But that was later in the trip too… so you never know what’ll happen you just have to keep grinding at it.  Had a couple other trips this week that we just kept it simple and snook and redfish fishing was very good.  Anyways, definitely still tarpon around and if they were responding a little better I’d say fishing was good but we’re just having to work them hard.  That could all change any day – that’s fishing!  For most my anglers I’m telling them if you are here for tarpon and are OK with devoting the trip to maybe getting 1, then let’s do it.  But if you want to bend the rod and catch fish there are plenty of other good options to do that.  It’s kind of hard to do anything in between unless you get lucky and the cards fall in the right places, and unfortunately there are no guarantees with the tarpon right now.  Bait will likely be a little tougher this coming week as we have falling tide early in the morning… it’s been much more catchable when the tide is coming in.  But luckily I’ve got some bait saved for my couple tarpon trips this week, and the rest of my trips we’re doing other things or I’m taking the days off.  Still plenty of time available starting around the 18th, and should be back to having good tide for catching early morning bait again by that point anyways.

New boat is in service now!  She’s running great and catching lots of fish.  Very fast, comfortable, and roomy for my clients.  I’ll update boat info when I get some time been so busy it’s tough to keep up.  Read/see more about the new Contender Bay Boat here!

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
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8/16/19 + 8/17/19 August Everglades Tarpon Fishing Backcountry

8/16/19 – I fished for fun with my wife Elizabeth and mother in law Ginger.  We tried some spots I just don’t fish a lot and some stuff that is even somewhat new to me.  We ended up finding some baby tarpon and snook in a couple of those spots, and managed to catch one baby tarpon and jumped off another.  Didn’t get any pictures though as I caught it and got it to the boat but he jumped away after we leadered him.  Also caught a handful of redfish and trout too.  1 for 2

8/17/19 – Fished with Stephen and Daria today return customers of mine.  We focused on tarpon mostly but started out catching a good handful of redfish and a small snook.  We found a couple larger schools of tarpon in two different areas – great to see!  Spot 1 they were mostly small guys, 15 to 30 lbers.  Unfortuantely they were not staying on the hook very well at all.  We got one to the boat, but he went under the boat once we got him on the leader and jumped a few times and pulled the hook.  Good enough for a technical catch just not very photogenic!  After that though they just kept getting off, either spitting the bait right away or jumping a couple times and throwing the hook.  We found some larger tarpon in the 2nd spot, but we didn’t have a ton of bait left at that point though we did jump 1 here too.  But still lots of action and we caught some big lemon sharks and blacktips too for an all around great day.  Good signs to see more tarpon numbers, it could definitely still be good for the next couple months!  1 for 8

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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8/13/19 August Fishing Tarpon in the Everglades

Got out with Trevor, Chad, and Gary today for a 3/4 day trip.  We left out early.  Had bait stashed away from a few days ago.  With the falling tides in the morning, bait is very difficult to get.  Luckily I was able to stash enough away for this trip and my trip tomorrow, then I won’t be fishing again until the weekend when the tidal situation should be more favorable for catching bait early.  We found some fish early on where they had been lately.  But acting very strange, I don’t think we ever even saw one roll but I could see them on the electronics.  We fished a few spots and kept moving trying to get in front of the right ones.  We did run one over that jumped out of the water, so absolutely sure they were there.  But no bites just some sharks and bluefish.  We went to another area with the last of the tide, and sure enough found a good pack of small tarpon in there.  We set up and it was fast and furious for a bit.  Trevor ended up landing one fish and getting another on the leader before it jumped off, and jumped off a 3rd fish straight from the get go.  Gary caught one as well.  All in a good 20 minute rally.  After that things died off.  We ran and checked one more area a ways away, where I had caught my last fish a couple days ago.  Saw a boat hooked up when we pulled in, but we didn’t see a whole ton of tarpon.  Just a handful here and there.  We set up, but the sharks were thick and hard to get through.  Caught a bunch of blacktip sharks, and then called it a morning.  But not bad with 3 tarpon overall!  Back at it tomorrow not sure what we are doing.  3 for 4

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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8/10/19 Tarpon Fishing Charter on 3/4 day in August

Got out with Michael and his son Preston again. We were after a tarpon. Found a decent group of fish early where they were a couple days ago, but today unfortunately we had about 30 minutes of tide and then things went slack. That can be tough this time of year as your good bite window is often first thing, but you have to work with the hand you are dealt. Anyways we caught a few sharks and waited out the tide change which was quick, but the fish seemed to spread out and didn‘t look so good after that. So we bailed and fished elsewhere. Found some more fish in spot 2, and did manage to jump 1 there that didn’t stay on the hook. Plenty of bigger sharks here too. Eventually they kinda stopped showing there too and we checked a final area that I hadn’t been too in a while. Low and behold we found a good pack of fish here, and after several blacktip sharks and a couple moves we finally hooked up! Nice 50 lb fish that fought well, and soon Preston had his first tarpon to the hand. There are definitely still tarpon around and the possibility of good fishing is there for a couple more months. But right now you really seem to have to commit to it to have a good shot, as we are working hard to get a bite or two a day. Off tomorrow then fun fishing on Monday.  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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8/7/19 August Tarpon in the Florida Keys

Had Michael, Preston, and Rebecca out for a 3/4 day. Rebecca or Preston had never caught a tarpon. I told the crew it’s been a little hit and miss lately for the poons, unfortunately no honey holes i had extreme confidence in but I was game to give it a good effort. We left early and caught bait. Checked 2 or 3 areas for fish, as it was fairly calm. Didn’t see many signs of them and just kept pushing. Finally got into one area and saw one or two. We kept looking and finally got into a lively area where a good handful were rolling. We set up and sharks got us a a little bit but then Rebecca hooked a big 90 lb tarpon! She fought it well and we landed it in about 40 minutes. Unfortunately by the time we were done the tarpon seemed to have dispersed. We saw a handful more and moved around, did have a few go by our baits but no more bites. We decided to move on after that. Checked an area where we saw them good a few days ago but didn’t see much surface activity today out there. We did see a few on the electronics, but no more bites though a few more sharks. We did have a few tripletails float by we casted too, but they didn’t seem happy and the baits floated right off there noses. We had a bit more time and I gave it a few extra minutes too just looking in one more area, then fished some numbers in another area for a last ditch effort. But didn’t see much else except for a few more sharks. Anyways we gave it a hard effort and covered some ground, and always happy to catch one plus it was a big one. The crew decided to rebook me for Saturday so hopefully we can get Preston his tarpon then!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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8/5/19 Full Day Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys in August

Got out with Lona and Bob today visiting from Sebastian, FL.  We were suppose to fish a couple weeks ago, but had a scheduling issue but luckily were able to move to today.  Still had a bit of southwest wind early but it laid out flat by 9:30 or so, and get very hot by mid day when the sun came out.  We caught bait early which was easy again.  We hit the redfish good to start, catching a couple dozen or so.  Then ran to try the tarpon with the little bit of tide we had left.  Didn’t see much, was hoping the same group would pop up we found yesterday morning, but they never did.  We did have a couple roll nearby but just a few sharks were had.  We moved and then found some more fish in another area as the wind laid out.  But they didn’t see in a great mood, hard to line up on and just moving around.  More sharks and catfish, and we did catch a tripletail that floated by.  My buddy called and said he saw a good group of tarpon further out and had jumped one off but sharks were getting him.  We made our way out there and sure enough there were quite a few tarpon more than I’ve seen in a while!  It looked really good and we didn’t have too many shark problems though we did catch some.  But the tarpon just didn’t want to play, every time I’d think about moving one would roll right on top of our baits.  Just figured it’d happen any second!  After about an hour though, we gave up.  We had a few shrimp left and went and caught a good handful of snook, a few trout and a sheepshead just to mix things up a bit.  We gave the tarpon a try again on the way home, they were still rolling around pretty good there.  We did jump one right away, but just one of those bites where they seem to spit it before they even pull the rod over.  After that it got very steamy and nothing at all seemed to bite, not even the sharks or catfish.  We gave it another 20 minutes and called it a day.  Funny yesterday we didn’t see a ton of fish, but had good rallies with the ones we found, and today we had better conditions and more fish but they just didn’t bite.  Oh well you never know, but at least we had good action with Plan B and C.  If it stays calm and light winds, hopefully these fish will turn on a bit.  According to the forecast that’s what should happen near the end of the week for a while.  0 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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