2/12/18 February Juvenile Baby Tarpon fishing in Islamorada

Got out with Bill and Elaine today.  We mixed it up and tried several different things.  I told them the last couple days were slow though we were fishing for certain things, so today I recommended just going fishing were what was biting.  We planned to keep it simple but we ended up getting some quality fish.  We found some juvenile tarpon around some islands and they were biting a little bit.  We caught a couple and had a couple more bites we missed.  The one we got to the boat for pictures was nice about 15 lbs or so, great fun on light tackle.  These fish will hopefully stick around they are good to have on days when you need them.  Aside from the tarpon we also caught nice mangrove snappers, a couple snook, redfish, and some mackerels, blue runners, and juvenile groupers in the gulf.  It was a great day!  Off tomrrow but hopefully the winds will swing more easterly as forecast and the big tarpon bite should improve, there are definitely fish around with as warm as it has been.  2 for 4

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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2/11/18 Febuary Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys Full Day

Got out with Paul and Peter over from Sweden.  They really wanted to fish for tarpon.  I told them the bite wasn’t red hot but we may get a shot or two if we were lucky, and they were game.  Conditions weren’t great we had a ripping 20-25mph southeast wind again.  Nothing seems to have been real happy since that started the day before.  Bait was difficult we had leftovers luckily and managed to catch a half dozen fresh ones.  We fished where we had been finding tarpon the last several times.  Not much out there though we saw a handful in the first stop, but no bites not even a shark bite.  We moved around a bit to where I had caught one a few days before, and again had a few fish around the boat I think that I could see on my sonar, but no action with tarpon.  We did catch a nice blacktip shark.  Water was super muddy with the southeast wind so the fish weren’t showing on top at all really.  We stopped and did catch a nice snook on a spot real quick before checking some other channels.  The other channel again I think there may have been a couple fish around, but no action but we did get a big sting ray.  After that we headed back to try locally around town.  I stopped and caught a few more mullet on the way home so we had some fresh bait again.  We hit a local channel and found a ton of tarpon rolling around.  As far as I could see up and down the channel, must’ve been hundreds of fish in there.  Unfortunately though I had the feeling we were just seeing too many on the surface, doing the high roll, tail slapping thing they often do when they aren’t happy.  They really weren’t we made a couple moves and fished very hard, but didn’t get a bite out of them, though we literally had them rolling between our baits and 10 feet from the boat at times.  Can be frustrating when that happens!  We did catch a jack crevelle and then called it a day.  Oh well that is fishing and especially tarpon fishing in February, if the conditions aren’t favorable sometimes they just aren’t going to respond.  Anyways looks like the winds are suppose to swing more easterly/northeasterly after tomorrow and then may be under 10 mph for the weekend which would be very nice.  Hopefully things will improve a little bit.  I’ll be sticking to simple fishing tomorrow I think, may give the tarpon at try for a little while, and then off for the next day or two.  0 for 0

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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2/9/18 February Tarpon Fishing in the Everglades

Got out with Cary and Colin for a full day today.  Winds were cranking about 25 mph out of the east.  The boys were up for anything I wanted to fish for, so I told them there had been some tarpon around as well as a few other options and that we would likely mix it up a bit.  They were good with that.  We caught bait on the way out, bait was easy with the high winds… one good thing about the wind it makes drifting for mullet a lot easier.  When we got to the tarpon grounds the tide was coming in but we are on a very weak tide cycle, and it was going right into the wind.  So we had to basically fish are gear off the bow, which is just annoying and make it kind of difficult to fish as the boat is always swinging from one side to the other plus you have either the anchor line or trolling motor to watch out for.  Anyways we found tarpon where we first stopped, but no bites out of them and they didn’t seem to stay there for long.  We did get a small shark and a bluefish.  We moved and looked in a couple other areas, the second area we found some fish.  We fished for a bit without any luck, then we saw a couple tarpon busting near by.  Soon after we had one jump right in our spread of baits, and I swore he was hooked but no drags started to scream.  I think the fish may have grabbed a bait and blew it right back out.  Then the same thing happened about 5 minutes later, though this time it looked like the tarpon had a line hanging out of his mouth.  But again we didn’t come tight… very strange and even Cary said he thought he saw the line hanging from the fishes mouth.  Anyways the tarpon were getting active which was a good sign.  About 10 minutes later Colin hooked a nice 80 lb tarpon that we landed.  We weren’t able to get him up for boatside pictures though as it was difficult in the wind and we got him next to the boat on the leader, but he jumped and tip wrapped us.  With the wind howling so much the line snapped before I could get up there to unravel it.  Anyways a caught fish technically.  We finished up the day catching a bunch of mackerel, and hooked a couple big snook in one spot but they beat us into the structure unfortunately.  Oh well still a great day with a big tarpon!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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2/6/18 February Tarpon fishing in Islamorada, Florida Keys

Got out with Larry and his son Joe today for a full day of february backcountry fishing in Islamorada.  They have fished out of bud n marys marina for several years but wanted to give it a try with me after reading all of my reports and such.  They wanted action as they had spent some days in past years fishing most of the day for a single fish, but Larry said Tarpon was on his bucket list.  So I said we could mix it up and do some action fishing with the mackerels, and then spend the rest of the day after the harder to catch stuff (tarpon).  Mackerel fishing was good we spent a little over an hour out there and probably caught close to 2 dozen.  Some nice size ones which was good to see this late in the winter.  We then headed towards the tarpon grounds.  It was a little breezy but we made it, I had seen some tarpon in those areas yesterday as I was scouting.  A little quiet at first but after 45 minutes or so, Larry hooked a nice 110 lb tarpon!  We chased him and got some nice jumps out of the fish, and landed it afterwards.  Unfortunately it darted under the boat after we had it on the leader and broke off before we could get good boatside pictures, but we got some nice jump shots with the phones.  About 30 minutes after we set back up, Larry hooked another tarpon, this time a real monster about 140 lbs!  The fish put up a good fight again and we landed it in good time, about a 25 minute battle.  This time we took our time on the leader and worked it a little more carefully, and got it up for some good pictures by the boat.  Then we released it nice and healthy.  We fished the last hour and a half for Joe trying to get him a tarpon, but they didn’t want to bite for us any more.  Even the sharks didn’t want to play much we only had one shark bite earlier and broke him off.  But still a great day getting two 100+ lb tarpon!  They should stick around as long as the weather stays warm, it’s just gotten into that low range where you may get a bite or two if you put some time in.  I have regular customers the next two days that don’t like to catch big stuff, so I won’t be after the tarpon probably, but maybe again by Friday I will be.  I have availability later in the month and in March, may be a good early tarpon season, give me a shout!  2 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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1/24/18 January Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada Florida

Got out with my regulars Jim and Gwen today.  We mixed it up a bit and did end up trying some tarpon fishing today.  Yesterday it was flat calm so the water temperatures did rise nicely.  I had heard reports some tarpon had shown up in their usual haunts.  I had a banner day with Jim and Gwen a couple days ago with lots of big snook and drum, so figured we’d give the tarpon a go as Jim always love to catch them.  We caught some mackerels in the gulf to start our day and that was OK, good action fishing we probably caught a dozen or so.  When we hit the tarpon area, we caught the middle of the falling tide and didn’t see much to start with.  The water temperatures were still in the high 60s when I got to the area.  I did mark a few tarpon however, and we just set up and gave it a go.  We had a couple sharks early on, and then I saw a tarpon roll so had some visual confirmation they were there!  Soon after we hooked a nice 85 lb tarpon that Jim caught, and it was all smiles and high fives after that!  As the tide continued to fall, the water temperatures continued to climb.  By the time we left they got all the way up to 74 or so, and it wasn’t a super sunny day.  But I guess the shallow water on the flats was warming up the deeper water as it came off.  We did see more tarpon later on, and did have one more bite before it was time to go but he didn’t stay on the hook for us.  Plenty of more sharks too including a very large blacktip/spinner shark.  Anyways I gotta say I didn’t really expect much when we got there but it ended up being not too bad.  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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