March is almost over and it’s started to really feel like tarpon season here in Islamorada. I just got back on the water about a week ago after celebrating the birth of my son, Felix! Mom and baby are healthy so we are thrilled about that. Fishing has been pretty good, we had a hard cold snap while I was away that really chilled the water down, and it stayed chilly until just a few days ago really. I know the tarpon fishing was tough while I was away, but now that it got warm again they’ve shown back up. In the backcountry a few days ago it was flat calm for a couple days. A horde of fish showed up from out in the gulf, and I’d guess numbers in the thousands – as far as you could see tarpon were rolling and busting. We found them one afternoon, and quickly hooked and caught a 100 lber, but by the time we got done fighting him the tide had quit and it was time to go home. The following day though we hammered them, and went 6 for 12 in about 3 1/2 hours! The best day I’ve had in a while, and certainly for this year so far. It was fun to see. Though the next day after that the wind kicked up to 25 mph, and had to take a day off. But yesterday and today it dropped down to 15-20 mph (and is going to continue to drop and be nice later this week!) We caught two tarpon both yesterday and today, yesterday way out there in the backcountry and today locally around the channels and bridges in Islamorada. We did see quite a few fish in the local areas, which I hadn’t seen until now, so that is a good sign too. Other than tarpon, there were some nice sharks to be had. We also got a cobia one day. Plenty of trout still in the bays too along with ladyfish and a few snappers. All in all it’s good fishing and hopefully this week will continue to be good – I have a feeling it will be with the weather and signs we are seeing.
Well I’ve still been pretty busy the last week though I’m taking this next week off expecting the birth of my first child! We’re due today but got a feeling it may be a little big longer. Fishing had been decent the last week though the last 3 days on the water I had (Saturday – Monday) were incredibly rough. Over the weekend we got hit by a minor front, not much of a temperature swing, but it blew 30+ mph for 2 days. Almost unfishable… But we made it out and did some snapper fishing around the islands. The weekend fishing was very good, both days we got our share of ‘jumbo’ snappers in the 18-20 inch range, I think a half dozen on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday, plus plenty of 12 inchers to limit out. On Sunday we also caught a juvenile tarpon which was awesome! Monday wasn’t quite as good, we were able to get our limit of snapper at least, but it was a struggle to get some barely over 10 inch legal ones. Though we did catch a couple big sheepshead too, and had plenty of shots at juvenile tarpon but they showed us no love. I noticed the water temperatures had dropped considerably with the wind and were in the high 60s, so I’m sure that definitely messed the bigger tarpon and sharks up for a few days. At least the few guys I talked to that tried that stuff, didn’t have much success. Before the bad weather, I had a great 3 days fishing with John and Jan Shulze. We had one flat calm day where we caught plenty of mackerel, then looked for tripletail without much success (didn’t see a single one!), but we did come across a school of free jumping tarpon. We spent the rest of the day after them, and landed two fish of about 80 lbs, one for each of them! Plus plenty of sharks including a hammerhead. Day 2 the winds started to kick up out of the north, but we made it into the bay and caught plenty of trout – it was almost every cast for about 2 hours! Then we made our way into the everglades creeks and had a slow pick of fish, but some quality, including a nice redfish, a handful of snook (we lost a big one too!), and Jan jumped a nice 30 lb tarpon on light tackle. The last day was the first snapper day that I mentioned. So they got to see a little bit of everything fishing with me for three days. Before that I had a couple of double half day trips and we caught a ton of mackerel on all those trips. Anyways looking forward to having the week off and adding a new fisherman (or woman) to the family! I’ll be back when I start fishing again.