3/29/16 + 3/30/16 Islamorada Tarpon Report

3/29/16 – Tarpon fished today we ran into the backcountry to start and had a load of bait already from the afternoon before.  We saw plenty of fish back there however they were not cooperating. We moved around a few times with fish rolling all over but they just wouldn’t bite.  The red grass got very bad too and made it tough to fish by the end of it.  We did catch a few sharks and a cobia.  Mid day we came back around town to finish up and we did have some tarpon action we did hook a fish however he jumped off right away.  Then we had some cheap shots of tarpon busting the mullet or flashing them but not eating.  We found another group at the end of the day though same thing they were just flashing or busting and wouldn’t eat.  0 for 1

3/30/16 – Today we tarpon fished and did some rod bending mid day.  In the morning fishing was good we found some fish in the bay channels and we had good activity in the morning for the 1st hour.  We had 3 solid eats though unfortunately the fish didn’t stay on.  One bite we had the fish on for a good 30 seconds but he jumped off.  Unfortunately my angler who missed two fish had been leaving the rod in the rod holder not following direction and unfortunately paid the price.  A tarpon bite comes very fast and the couple seconds it takes you to pick a rod up out of the holder and get situated sometimes is too long before the fish is gone.  Different types of baits call for different approaches but for live mullet fishing you always want to hold the rod, yes sometimes it can get boring and frustrating but the nature of fishing as soon as you put the rod down that bite is going to come!  We caught some trout, ladyfish, and other assorted fish mid day, and then tried the tarpon again in the afternoon and had one cheap shot around the bridge, but that was all she wrote.  Hopefully my luck turns around it’s been a very tough March – I’m ready for April!  0 for 3

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

3/28/16 Everglades March Tarpon Fishing

Had a full day today after enjoying my 1st day off yesterday in 3 weeks!  We caught some bait yesterday afternoon so I was loaded up.  We tried locally for tarpon early and hit some of the channels and areas I saw them on Saturday morning, though today I didn’t see any at all there!  Very strange, we did catch a few sharks and a big sting ray and lost a jumbo goliath grouper into the bridges, so at least we stayed busy.  After that we went and caught some tripletails in the gulf and gave the tarpon a try back in the everglades channels.  We sat for about 40 minutes and eventually hooked a nice 60 lb fish we landed.  I was stoked and then we went off the beaches of the mainland to give it a try, didn’t see much out there but we caught about a half dozen sharks and called it a day.  Fishing isn’t real easy right now but it should get better and better, hopefully no more fronts will mess things up!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

3/26/15 Saturday half day tarpon fishing report

Got out after some tarpon again this morning on a half day trip.  I had some live mullets we stashed away yesterday afternoon as well as some cut bait.  We fished locally close by for the first 30 minutes, I didn’t see much for tarpon activity for rolling fish etc… that we saw yesterday, so we then ran further down the road towards ch 2 and ch5 bridges.  We find a good group of fish on the bayside of ch 5, however they were not much interested in feeding.  We tried a few different tactics and moved around several times, though no dice.  As the tide quit we ran back towards ch 2 and found a good group of fish rolling, busting, and splashing around in the bay.  I set up and we started fishing hard, eventually we had one good strike on a live mullet.  However unfortunately we  failed to hook the fish and just got back a bare hook.  After that we continued seeing fish for a little bit, though eventually it subsided and I moved out on the ocean side to check things out there.  We didn’t see much out there and time ran out unfortunately.  We did end up catching a few sharks and a sting ray, though came up short at least we had a shot at a tarpon.  I did hear a few guys that stayed in the area where I started did eventually see some fish there later on and one person did report catching one, though I saw no hookups out of quite a few boats in the areas I was.  The fish are back but obviously just not quite happy yet I think once the water gets a little warmer they will respond better – maybe that will be in the next few days.  Tomorrow is my first day off in over 3 weeks so I’ll be sleeping in and not fishing!  0 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

3/25/16 Islamorada half day tarpon fishing trip

I had Dave Huffman and his son in law Daryl today, a long time customer of fellow guide Vic Gaspeny.  They were down from North Carolina and Dave wanted Daryl to catch a tarpon.  We were out scouting for bait early and there was a lot of rain and weather around, though we were able to avoid it but unfortunately did not find much for mullet.  However I had a bit of leftovers from the day before and we went out with that.  We had the last trickle of falling tide and found some fish rolling heavily in the local channels.  We set up and they were all around though not really responding to our bait presentations.  Finally after an hour the tide changed and we hooked a monster fish well over 100 lbs!  I’d been fishing my slightly lighter rods since most fish I’ve seen lately have been in the 40 to 80 lb range, though this was a brute.  He dragged us around the channel a few times, making a few wild jumps but spent most of his time meandering around very slowly and saving his energy.  He got us up near the bridge and eventually went through some of the skinny pilings which almost let him get away.  We quickly tied the rod to my throw cushion and floated it through the pilings though and grabbed it on the other side, allowing us to hang on to the fish!  It was quite a maneuver and I’ve done it a handful of times but it doesn’t always work out as planned.  Anyways we landed the fish after a 2 hour battle though unfortunately he broke on the leader right after I grabbed it so we didn’t get any good boatside pics, though plenty of jumping action shots.  He was a solid 120 lb fish, I think one of the largest I’ve landed so far this year.  After that we had a little time left we put baits out but no more tarpon bites, but we did get a big nurse shark and jack crevelle.  Quite a battle for the morning and glad we made it happen in the rain and nasty weather!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

3/24/16 Islamorada Tarpon Fishing Report

Got after some tarpon today after the ‘big chill’ a few days ago.  Temperatures plummeted back into the high 50s for one night and that really put a damper on our tarpon fishing right as things had started to get good.  Anyways luckily it was just a one night deal and things have slowly started to warm back up, however with the high kickin’ winds it’s been a slow process.  Yesterday we were able to catch some bait in the afternoon after a half day trip.  I used it today we tried fishing the bridges which I’ve had some luck on when things are on the chillier side.  Today however no luck there we had some nervous baits jumping around but nothing wanted to try and really eat them.  We even ran down the road towards the bigger bridges near marathon though there wasn’t much life there that i could see.  Of course with the high winds and ripping current it was tough to see anything that may of been laying on the bottom.  Anyways we bailed and went and caught some mackerels then gave the tarpon a try again on the way home.  We got in one of the local channels where I’d been finding them and right after all was looking glum we ended up hooking and landing a nice 50 lb fish right as the incoming tide was dying!  We decided to call it a day there so it was a good way to end it.  Fishing should improve slightly the coming week, however I do hear we have another front on the way (ugh!), though so far it looks to be much more mild so hopefully it won’t affect things to much.  And a good chance it may fizzle out altogether (i hope so!)  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk