Tarpon Season 2017 / Hurricane Irma Update

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Hurricane IRMA has come and gone…  Thankfully we are all still here and have been back to fishing since the beginning of October or so.  The Upper Keys are in good shape overall, at this point in late October you almost cannot even tell a hurricane impacted us if you are driving down the street, aside from the handful of small debris piles that are still about.  Though by the end of the month I think the free county pickups of debris are coming to an end so that should be about it.  The only other reason you’d know there was a storm is because some of our largest hotels in the area are still closed since they had more extensive damage.  They all were right on the ocean where the storms impact was felt the most and they have a lot of rooms to repair plus lots of landscaping work to be done.  Though I think most of them are hoping to be reopened by early 2018, and most of the smaller motels in the are are back in business.  Everything on the bayside to my knowledge is, and Key Largo has plenty of options too.  Bud n’ Mary’s where I fish out of and that my family owns is back in business though they are not quite 100%, but rooms are available and charters are departing daily.

For the numbers this year we caught 269 tarpon in 149 trips which works out to about 1.81 tarpon per trip.  Of course I will continue to update this for any more tarpon fishing I do this year.  The ratio is slightly better than my 2015 year which we caught roughly 1.75 tarpon per trip, and a good bit better than 2016 year which was about 1.44 tarpon per trip.  As always we consider a catch where we get the wind-on leader into the rod tip – this means any of the monofilament leader on the end of my braided line, which can be up to 30 feet including the ‘bite leader’.  So some of these fish we don’t always get boatside for a nice pictures, but rather we go by tournament/IGFA rules.  Also trips constitute any trip that we try tarpon fishing – whether we fish for them just for an hour, or all day – as we often fish for other things especially in the tarpon ‘off season.’

So I am fairly happy with the tarpon season this year after we had a rough year in 2016.  I hope 2018 is even better of course!  I may still do a bit of tarpon fishing now and through the winter when weather permits.  Don’t be afraid to ask me about it… if the weather is warm and conditions looks good I’m always willing to try for them.  Though it likely won’t be the main focus on my charters until Spring time rolls around again.  If you are looking to book a trip next year, I always recommend doing so early as ‘prime time’ Spring/Summer can book up quickly!  For the next few months I’ll be doing my daily fishing reports on my other website Fishing Islamorada.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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