Hey everyone welcome to my website! If you want to book fishing dates with me, shoot me an email. I’ve backed off on full time guiding myself and am no longer taking advanced bookings, I now have Capt. Stephen Byrd running my boat full time. I still take occasional trips short notice, or if I know I have a window where I can fish, and you can sign up to my mailing list for when I announce those dates. If I myself or Capt. Stephen are not available, I recommend Capt. Brandon Storin who runs my 20′ SeaCraft boat, or Capt. Trentin Leary who is running our 18′ Action Craft skiff. Both these young captains I’ve personally trained and they run many of my charter trips for me. If you have a dream of catching & mounting a trophy tarpon please email me to get your dates locked in – I will try extra hard to get you on my personal schedule if you are going to mount a trophy tarpon!
My team of captains have learned lots of the tips & tricks I’ve found over the last 15 years of my professional guiding career and have been putting in hard work & time (being most important)! You can see what we’ve been catching here lately on our regularly updated fishing reports.
So I got out with good return customers Jon & Jan this last week for a couple of days, Tuesday & Wednesday (yesterday and the day before). On Tuesday we focused mostly on tarpon. Bait was fairly easy to catch in the morning and we had a fair amount from a few days before so we loaded up with some extras. We ran out into the backcountry where I had been finding fish the last few trips. Sure enough there were still a good group of fish out there, but unfortunately there was a fly fishing tournament going on and there were several boats on them first thing early in the morning. We got lucky and set up a fair distance back and got one tarpon right away. But as the day progressed the fish were moving with the tide and then more boats showed up so we had 5 or 6 guys trying to fly fish the group of fish. Unfortunately for us bait fisherman it’s bad ettiquette to run in there in the midst of that. Although there we of course fish in a fairly big area, the real concentration you wanted to get in was not all that big plus the little sharks were very bad if you got in the wrong spot, and with the fly guys around you can’t get within a football field of them or cut them off so we tried to be polite and not enroach to close which we did. But we only ended up with that 1 bite and by 10:00 or so it seemed kinda over with and everyone left. We tried a few spots of big snook and another area for tarpon but no luck. But still a nice tarpon on the day and a big lemon shark and hammerhead shark, plus plenty of black tips. I’m pretty sure we could’ve had more action if we could’ve fished where wanted but that’s not always the case.
Yesterday we had a total swing around in the wind direction, it went from northeasterly to southwesterly. Luckily we loaded up with extra bait the day before because with the wind switch, the bait was gone today! That’s why we often catch bait back there even when we don’t necessarily ‘need’ it for the day, because you never know when you aren’t gonna find it! With the wind that direction, the fly fisherman were not in the same area as it gets a little rough and they don’t see the fish on the surface as much when you get those rolling waves. Though fishing was not all that great we never had a tarpon bite early we did mark a few good schools of fish and got set up in good position but no love just sharks. We gave it an hour and a half or so and then switched gears and went snook fishing. Snook fishing was really good and all we had for bait was small shrimp and a few pinfish, so we didn’t need to catch special bait but we still ended up with close to 20 snook, and had a nice redfish that got eaten by a shark, and had a few baby tarpon eat the shrimp as well that we jumped off.
So that’s hopefully a good sign and one of the nice things about backcountry fishing sometimes there are good options if the tarpon don’t cooperate. But as mentioned previously there has been a fair amount of bait around and tarpon around for the time of year it is back there and July may yield some good fishing for us it’s often a good month but you don’t know until it gets hear. But I’ll be taking some trips in July more short notice so if you plan on being in the area drop me a line!
Got out today with my good customers the Thompsons. We fished the backcountry as last time we were out we had found a decent number of fish back there and it’s that time of year that sometimes its nice to transition to backcountry fishing as opposed to the bridges. It’s remained fairly calm though we had a little tad bit of a southerly breeze which isn’t our favorite but luckily it wasn’t blowing hard. Tarpon were actually fairly plentiful early on we saw some rolling and a handful free jumping and busting. We got into them pretty good and I was seeing quite a few on the sonar as well as with my eyes. I thought we’d get bit up but the tarpon weren’t too responsive really. We jumped around and fished hard for 2 hours catching plenty of sharks including a few hammerheads which was cool. We had several times where I marked fish literally swimming right near our baits, and even rolled on the surface right over top. If you were a betting man that was the time you’d bet on getting a bite for sure! But they just weren’t having it. Finally after moving 6 or 7 times and putting in a good solid couple of hours we hooked a fish. We fought him for a minute or two but unfortunately he jumped off, though the next bait out we hooked another one and landed him… alright on the board! Tarpon fishing can be like that you can have fish all over and when they don’t want to play you just have to keep grinding. After that we switched gears and gave the big snook a try and ended up actually catching a couple more tarpon while we were doing that which was unexpected. But nice smaller size fish on the lighter tackle was great fun and we also got a couple of big snook too. So all in all a great day and quality over quantity but totally worth it for my guys!
Capt. Stephen has been fishing with me several times out back recently and I’ve been dialing him in on my tarpon routine for the summer time. I’m pretty much all booked up myself for June but he has dates available for sure. If you want to get out chasing tarpon the next few months give me a shout and if I can’t take you I can put you with him and as mentioned he’s been seeing exactly how I fish and really learning my methods so you’ll be in great hands.
Well another few days of tarpon fishing in the books here in late May in Islamorada. Monday and Tuesday we stuck around the bridges as I’ve been doing for the most part the last couple of months. Not a ton of fish around though still a decent number though we had to move around and look for the right opportunities. We had falling tide early on both days, Monday was slick calm too. We didn’t do much early but when the tide started in around 9:30 we finally hooked a nice fish we caught. About an hour later I’m fairly certain we got zipped by another one that broke us off. Then finally right before it was time to call it a day we hooked another one we caught. No boatside pictures though leader releases on both those fish. We did catch a handful of mutton snappers, jacks, and nurse sharks too. Tuesday we had a tad bit of wind but more or less the same fishing. We caught one fish on the last of the falling tide and then another one later on when the tide came in same thing about 30 minutes before it was time to go. Only two bites on that day. So tough fishing but if you put the time in you can still catch ’em. Wednesday I had the same crew as Tuesday and decided to go run in the backcountry and see about tarpon back there. We had seen some last week when I was fishing with my dad though didn’t actually try to catch them. We found a huge school of mullet which was good to see and caught some on our way. The tarpon were in the same relative area today. We saw a few splashing around early on but didn’t get any bites aside from blacktip sharks and a huge lemon shark the first couple hours. Then when the tide switched we ran a bit further away a couple miles and found a few more splashing. We set up and moved a couple times then had a nice pack drift by us and caught a nice 45 lber. After that we slid further down and caught another 65 lber nice summer time fish. We looked around a bit more but didn’t have much else happen. We tried a few spots for big snook but no luck with that either. We did have a southwest wind not blowing hard but not an ideal wind for sure but at least it was good to see some tarpon back there. Seeing that, the big school of mullet, and the nicer color of the water bodes well for our summer time fishing I hope maybe June, July, and August will be productive back there this year as the last couple of years the summer time fishing has been mediocre I will say. I’m off for a little bit but Capt. Stephen is available on my vessel. I am fishing a handful of my regulars in June but he will be running the boat the rest of the time. I’ve started bringing him on some backcountry trips with my dad and he came today so he’ll be dialed in to my summer time routine back there.
It’s middle of May and we’re still grinding away on the tarpon! Fishing overall has been OK I’ll say. Most days we’ve still been having to work a fair bit at it to get a handful of bites. Though conditions have been fairly good overall now as it seems we’re starting to get somewhat calmer consistent weather out of the southeasterly direction for wind. The forecast right now is 10mph and under for the foreseeable future so that should be a good thing! Bait has started to get a little tougher so I’m buying it when I can if I know I have trips coming up and we’re catching it as best we can too to keep up with our needs. I only fished one day last week on Wednesday but we had a decent day getting about 5 bites I believe. We had 3 fish up on the wind-on leader though weren’t able to get any rolled over for pictures. Jumped a couple off, had a hook break on one, and a couple others swam into the bridge. Just one of those days but still decent action and lots of fun. We had a good amount of mutton snapper bites as well which was cool too. Capt. Stephen ran the boat today (Saturday) and just fished a last minute half day this morning but he had a couple tarpon bites and got one on the wind-on leader as mentioned but he got tangled up in the bridge when they were trying to get her rolled over. But a good catch none the less along with some nurse sharks and muttons he said too. There were still plenty of fish down at the bridges and I think we’ll have good shots at them for a bit longer here and the nice thing is there hasn’t been a ton of pressure. A lot of guys are doing other things because fishing has been a little tougher for the tarpon. Though with my boat we fish hard using the trolling motor and sophisticated electronics so we can pretty much always find the fish just a matter of getting them to bite. Capt. Stephen is now available to run the boat any day with exception to Thursdays and Sundays, and he’ll do evening trips as well any evening but Sundays. I am still taking bookings on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays though if Steve gets booked first he’ll take the day. I have the 29th, 30th and 31st open myself this month and will likely be taking a few taking a few June trips next week though as mentioned Capt. Stephen will book a June trip any time now. Give me a shout if you want to get something on the books for June I’m likely only going to fish a handful of trips and then let Capt. Stephen run the boat the rest of the time.
Fished with my dad and my new Capt. Stephen last week. This was right after a day when they were chewin’ there butts off. We worked hard to catch a couple… but that’s how tarpon fishing goes! This video was shot by Landon our new videographer and he’ll be riding with me on occasion making videos like this.
This week we tarpon fished a couple days. We had a crazy windstorm event on Sunday with 30+ mph winds that really stirred things up. Monday was much nicer but a bit of a northwest breeze and things cool off believe it or not. Tarpon weren’t super happy but we managed to catch a couple out of 3 or so bites I think. Hard day where we had to grind but had the bridges to ourselves more or less. Tuesday was slicked out flat calm. Things started a little slow for us but we saw tarpon rolling everywhere. After some persistence and jumping around a bit for an hour or so we started getting bit. A few good rallies here & there and we ended up getting 4 tarpon to the leader. None boatside unfortunately but close. I think we had 8 or so bites total so pretty good fishing overall and again hardly a sole fishing at the bridge which was nice. Today I had my same anglers from the previous day and even though I’m not usually doing anything but tarpon fishing now this time of year I did give them the option to try permit fishing in the gulf as it was one of my regulars who hadn’t had that opportunity before. We didn’t have super good conditions but we had pretty good fishing landing 3 permit and losing a few others to sharks and breakoffs. I have a few days open left in May I really can’t say what to expect at this point but there are still a good number of fish around and the bridges are generally not too busy as lots of guides are doing other things so at least you have that going for you. Capt. Trentin has plenty of dates available too and has been catching fish too and doing a little different routine fishing some local canals and stuff.
Here’s the YouTube video from last week. If you really would like our videographer to ride along on your fishing day let me know. I’ll be asking my regulars and clients when it’s only one or two people on occasion, but if you want to request it I’ll see if I can make it happen.
And also here are a few clips from this weeks action…
Hello my name is Capt. Rick Stanczyk and welcome to my website! I’m a fishing guide in the fabulous Florida Keys, Islamorada to be specific. Tarpon are the species I spend a lot of time fishing for and they are my passion. I've stepped away from full time guiding myself though I still take a handful of trips short notice. Though I have a team of young talented guides who I've been training that are available for tarpon charters, so please get in touch if you want to go fishing!