3/3/15 March Islamorada Fishing Report

Well March is here and so are the big tarpon in Islamorada.  We had a late winter so it held off some of the normal ‘early arrivals’ that we catch in February.  Though the last week or more it’s been very warm and tarpon are starting to show up in droves.  The last 5 days we’ve caught at least one tarpon every day.  The last two days however they really have started biting well.  We had a total of 9 bites and landed 5 fish in the last 2 days.  Yesterday they were eating the live mullet well, we weren’t able to stick any though were able to catch one on dead bait in the afternoon.  A big slob of 150 lbs, biggest fish this year so far!  Today we went 4 for 4 in the everglades, fish of 60 to 90 lbs.  It should get better and better, and since it is just not starting I think our fishing later in the season should be better.  The last few years fish have shown up way early and often by end of May/June we would have some ‘dry spells’ where there were not many fish or they wouldn’t bite, likely due to too many showing up too early.  Anyways tarpon is what I am focusing on from now on through the Summer.  Of course we sometimes break it up and fish for other things.  I am booked up fairly solid through May, however we are going to be having another very good hard working young captain run a 2nd skiff for us.  If your looking to get out for some good tarpon fishing the next few months, he will be available for evening trips during ‘prime time.’  Drop me a line and let’s catch you that silver king of a lifetime!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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2/18/15 February Backcountry Fishing Report for Islamorada Florida

February is already half way over and we have been experiencing a late winter that’s for sure.  Cold fronts have continued to hit us once or twice a week, and last weekend it was the coldest it had been here I think in years.  Oddly enough another front is coming in tonight which is even suppose to be colder – lows in the 40s according to the forecast!  But thankfully it hasn’t slowed down the inshore fishing actually last weekend things picked up a little if anything in the backcountry.  We had a great day catching seven snook, 4 black drums, 4 big trout, and handful of other specimens on Saturday in low 60 degree water which wasn’t too shabby.  I’ve had two days in the last week catching our limit of hogfish out on the patch reefs which has been incredible.  The hogfish fishing this winter in Islamorada has been the best I’ve ever seen and according to many old time guides the best it may of ever been.  Just about every day you catch a handful out there though many days have yielded quite a few, limits, and even a few days of high double digit numbers.  Mixed in on every trip out there has been poriges, mutton snapper, small groupers, and a few other odds and ends such as cero mackerel or barracuda.  The gulf fishing has stayed consistent as well with the spanish mackerel and big blacktip sharks.  I have not been further out in the gulf much as there hasn’t been much action with cobia or tripletail.  A couple days we’ve found some tripletail but not really worth the run to only see a few.  We did catch some big goliaths one day a couple weeks ago out on a wreck plus a big shark.  Anyways I’m out of town for a week now and it looks to be a good week to miss – high winds through the weekend and cold, cold weather.  Tarpon fishing has been pretty much non-existent with this late cold we’ve had, and looks to stay that way for probably another week or so.  I doubt I’ll miss anything with them thankfully and things may not got started with them until March.  This isn’t a bad thing though as it may push the migration back a month or so which actually can help out our fishery in late May and June which is when people are really expecting to catch tarpon.  So we will see.  Anyways drop me a line if your looking to fish, the next 3 months are fairly booked up with anglers looking to hook up with the silver king, though I do have a handful of days and evenings open.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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2/10/15 January and February Deep Sea Fishing Report for Islamorada

It’s been busy here since Christmas while deep sea fishing in Islamorada. We’ve had pretty steady fishing overall too. Some trips are a little slower than others, but you have to remember it’s always fishing! The sailfish bite has been a little hit and miss. Some days we have a few shots, and the next we never see a fish. Overall though if you put your time in, most days we’ve a shot or two, just catching the fish when you have your opportunity is key! We’ve had plenty of snapper, mostly yellowtails, but a few mangrove and big muttons. The kingfish bite has been very steady too, with fish from 5 – 25 lbs. Furthter offshore while deep dropping (deep water bottom fishing) we’ve been catching some tilefish, snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, and queen snapper. I had one monster snowy grouper that weighed 42 lbs! I’ve been on 4 swordfish trips since the new year and caught 1 fish on 3 of them and one trip yielded 2 fish. We’ve caught a couple tuna and ambjerjack on the reef and wrecks, as well as a few sharks. There’s been a few mahi around as well, but they aren’t prime targets this time of year. We did have a nice 26 lb bull one day. We will focus on reef fishing the next couple months, and soon after that will start heading offshore in the later spring. Send me an email to bnmcharters@gmail.com if you’d like to book a charter.

Capt. Nick Stanczyk

 

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How to fish with shrimp in Islamorada

Fishing with live shrimp in the Florida Keys is probably the most popular style of fishing in the area.  Just about every bait shop throughout south florida carries live shrimp.  These shrimp are caught in areas of the gulf and atlantic by trawlers who consistently net them and then truck them to local area bait shop early in the morning.  It is one of the staples of our fishing industry and without them it would make the life of an islamorada fishing guide very tough!  Just about everything eats shrimp so it is the go-to bait for us.  Of course certain baits work better for certain things depending on a variety of conditions, however we bring live shrimp along on just about every charter.  In Islamorada itself we do not have a big run of shrimp consistently, so we rely on trawlers who go out closer to the mainland and bring them down to us.  In the winter time though with the right conditions (cold front coming in), they will run and you can catch shrimp in islamorada.  So we will get down to the basic of buying, caring, and using shrimp for bait.  Winter time we get the largest shrimp and with the cooler water temperature, everything in the backcountry just about eats them as well as on the patch reefs.  Summer time is often a tougher time as the shrimp are usually very small, and you may be better off trying to catch other forms of live bait or even using artificials in some cases.  

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
305-747-6903
rick@fishingislamorada.com

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1/21/15 January Fishing Report Islamorada Backcountry

Greetings friends and I hope your winter is as fabulous as ours has been here in the Florida Keys in January.  Our winter islamorada fishing charters have not disappointed and the bite has been overall just good.  We’ve been mixing things up a lot lately with a variety of types of fishing as is the norm in the winter time.  The most consistent trip for action has been in the gulf.  The spanish mackerel have been biting voraciously on both the incoming and outgoing tides.  With my larger center console boat I can get out there just about any day.  We’ve been hanging the chum bag and fast jigging with shrimp.  The mackerel are in the 3-5 lb range mostly and we’ve been getting double digit catches just about every trip.   Some days they are waiting there when you set up and anchor, others you may have to sit and chum for 30 minutes, but they’ve always been finding us.  Out there too are very large blacktip sharks and they have been a good alternative to tarpon if you want to pull on something big that jumps and puts on a show!  Yesterday we found some tripletail further out in the gulf as well which is a fun option for those wanting to ‘sight fish’ especially on a calm nice day.  Fishing the everglades in january has not been quite as red hot with action, though for anglers looking for more of a challenge and opportunity to catch more of a trophy type fish it is a good bet.  We’ve been getting redfish, snook, blackdrum, and sheepshead most days.  Some days it is good and you will catch a few fish in every spot you hit, other days you may strike out and hopefully find at least one spot holding some good fish.  Of course days when the ‘honey holes’ are not producing we often put the trolling motor in and just work creeks, channels, and shorelines to cover more ground and put you on the fish.  The bite can turn on in an instant though, especially with an impending cold front.  We got a huge 20 lb black drum yesterday as well as a nice big redfish, plus several other drum, snook, trout, and tripletail.  Andy and his sons who have fished with me for years and have been blessed with good days just about every time had to work for them a few days ago, but did manage a good trip with 8 nice redfish, a snook, a sheepshead, and finished up with about 15 spanish mackerel and a couple bluefish.  Out front the other great option especially for half days has been the florida keys patch reef fishing.  Porgy, hogfish, snapper, and grouper have been consistent out there and it’s often all the rod bending action you could ask for.  We got into a good bite of barracuda the other day too, which was lots of fun with big live pilchards for bait.  This is great for people wanting a few fish for dinner too as I promise you will not find better eating fish anywhere.  If your looking to get out on the water give me a call I have a few days open in January left, and February is starting to fill up fast as that marks the traditional start of our busy season.  Tarpon fishing should be starting to get better as we get into February that is when I start focusing on that more as it is consistently warmer.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

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