Tarpon Season 2017

So March is almost over and we’ve been fortunate enough to have a fairly good ‘early season’ run of tarpon.  With the extremely mild winter, we’ve had a handful of fish in some spots since early February.  It wasn’t red hot fishing but if you put a little time in, you could get a bite or two on the right days.  Those days being when the water was in the mid to high 70 degree range, and hopefully not blowing too hard.  March has gotten a little better, though mid-march we had a very hard cold front hit us that cooled water temps back down into the low 60s and had them stay low for close to a week or so.  It was perfect timing for me as I was taking a week off to celebrate the birth of my son, Felix!  Anyways right when I got back, things had started to warm back up and the last couple weeks of March we’ve had even better fishing.  As I write this I’d say we are just about in ‘full swing’ of tarpon season, with many fish having showed up in the backcountry in the last week, as well as plenty of fish in many of the local channels and around the bridges in the last few days too.

I imagine April should be a very good month… last year our early spring fishing was very up and down.  We had very unpredictable wind that would change direction every few days, a lack of bait that normally shows up (I’m talking the humongous balls of silver mullet we normally see), and nasty water to contend with (red weed, algae).  Fish were around last year, but many days they were very uncooperative… not responding to our usual tactics, or teasing us with ‘cheap shots’ or flashing on baits and not eating them.  But this year the bait so far seems to be showing up very well, the winds have been steadier out of the east (aside from a few late fronts), and the algae water has really cleared out and red weed hasn’t been near as much a problem as in years past.  I can say through the month of March, I’ve caught as many fish as I did last year in the same month, but in half the amount of days fishing.  And we’ve 4 more days to go still.  I’ve had years when it’s better early on, but after last year I’m very pleased with the start so far.

As far as bookings go, I’m already all booked up through about the third week of June.  July has a few more openings, and August is fairly wide open.  The summer months can still be very good fishing (often June and July are some of my overall best months, numbers wise).  Normally I’d have more trips available the next couple months, but I’m not doing any night trips this year due to having a child.  I may do a few short notice when my schedule allows and conditions look good, so don’t be afraid to ask.  If I can’t take you, I’m happy to give referrals.  Drop me a line if you are interested in going tarpon fishing in Islamorada!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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