Well I’ve been more or less in full on tarpon mode with it being so warm so early down here. Haven’t been updating this blog as much but my daily reports during tarpon season are on my other website islamoradatarpon.com. The fishing has been a little up and down the last couple weeks. We had a lot of wind earlier in the week, and out of the southerly direction a few days, which did make fishing a bit tough. The tarpon bite was hit or miss and a lot of fish got moved around. We were inundated with nasty muddy water in some of the backcountry areas that had been holding fish consistently. Even the sharks were a little hard to come by some days. We did find a few local tarpon a couple days though. I also mixed it up and did some mackerel fishing in the gulf which was still pretty good considering how warm it’s been. There had also been some trout and snappers in the bay which made for some good tablefare. Today though we were rewarded for making a long run. It was a gamble… a 50 mile run back into the ‘glades. We found the mother load of tarpon though and some nice clean water after running through miles and miles of mud and nastiness. The tarpon were hungry too… My anglers Irv landed three huge tarpon, up to 150 lbs. Though the biggest fish may of been closer to 175 I am often conservative in my estimates! It was a day to remember and we also caught a few tripletail on the way home before things got too rough. Anyways looks like we will be having a cold front come in over the weekend so things may cool off for a few days. It might slow the tarpon down again, but I think overall its a good thing as its been so incredibly warm. If you are looking to get out fishing give me a shout I have a few days in March still available, and then the summer time tarpon bite can be very good as well and doesn’t book up quite as fast as april/may which is already heavily booked. Tight lines!
Had a group trip the last two days with the Kurt Butcher group down at Bud n’ Mary’s. We had good fishing both days. Yesterday was fairly calm light winds, today it kicked up a bit out of the southeast but not too crazy 15 mph or so. Yesterday we tarpon fished all day. Caught bait to start the day which went well. We caught a big tarpon 15 seconds after our first bait hit the water! A nice 100 lber for Cody. After that we got a bull shark about a 50 lber. The tarpon bite slowed down we didn’t have another bite for a couple hours. We decided to check some other areas I hadn’t fished yet this year. Didn’t see much at first but caught a big lemon shark and a sting ray. We took a harder look and did manage to find a few tarpon floating through the area. One ate a live pilchard we missed, but then we caught two more later on and a couple more sharks. Great day 3 day time tarpon in February! Today we tried the same thing but the weather had other plans. Lots of rain in the AM so we stayed close and fished our light rods for jacks and big ladyfish for an hour. We did catch mullet too and then when the rain cleared we headed out back. Similar as yesterday the tarpon didn’t want to bite too well on the early morning falling tide. We got another bull shark and several black tips. Then when the tide turned we moved around, got a nice 20 lb cobia and then hooked a double header tarpon! One fish didn’t stay buttoned though but we caught the other. Then later on we got another one so both my anglers Jay and Dustin caught their first tarpon. So 5 tarpon in 2 days and all 4 anglers got to catch their first tarpon… not too shabby for february tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys! Looks like the winds will be kicking up tomorrow so may have a little tougher fishing but hopefully something will be productive.
Got out for a 3/4 day with John, Michelle, and Phil today. We departed around 6:45 and headed to the spanish mackerel grounds. Fishing was pretty good we caught about 2 dozen in just an hour or so. It was action almost every cast! Good to see them still around thick as they are sort of our bread and butter this time of year. After that we ran to find some tarpon. We tried the channels where they were milling around yesterday and they were there today again too. The winds were nice and calm and we had the last trickle of falling tide, but the tide quit out on us early. We managed to hook a shark that cut us off, and then on the change of the tide Phil hooked a nice 85 lb tarpon! He to under and around the trolling motor, all the places you dont want them to go, which often happens when they bite on a tide change as the line and stuff is wanting to drift under the boat. Anyways we avoided cutting him off and Phil landed him nicely. Later on we caught a big lemon shark when the tide changed and started coming in, and while fighting him, Michelle hooked a nice 45 lb tarpon. She got the wind on leader on him but unfortunately it was a quick release as he spit the hook on a jump but we had the leader for a technical catch. It was time to head home after that but a great day on the water for these 3! Back at it tomorrow. We seem to be in full tarpon season swing right now with no cold fronts in site.
Got out for a full day with Howard and Mike, two return customers who fished with me last year. We mixed it up a bit and tried a few different things, having some success with each. We caught some pilchards to start our day and I had hoped we’d get in on some juvenile tarpon action that was good a few days ago. We found the little tarpon, but they weren’t as active as I would’ve liked. We couldn’t get them to respond but we did catch a couple nice mangrove snappers and a small barracuda. After that we hit the gulf to try for some mackerel and other species. We found a few mackerel and a bunch of big ladyfish and blue runners. We moved out a bit further and got on a little bit better mackerel bite. We saved much of this for bait for larger stuff later on. We found some larger tarpon in the next stop and put out some bait for them. Howard caught a nice cobia which was a surprise! About a 30 lber, lots of fun and a first for him. We saw a few tarpon showing a little ways away and moved into that area. Mike had a tarpon bite soon after but he didn’t stay on the hook. We had one other one that I beleive was a tarpon give us a quick zing on the rod but never got the hook in him either. We did catch a few blacktip sharks, and Howard hooked what I think was a big sawfish (those are usually pretty easy to guess what they are). He cut us off though but may of been for the better as it seemed like a big one that wasn’t stopping anytime soon. Anyways that was about it for us for the day. I’ll be back at it tomorrow not sure what we are doing and it’s a shorter 3/4 day, but tarpon may be on the menu. Since it is so warm tarpon fishing will likely be a regular thing from here on out, barring any crazy cold fronts. Be sure to check out my other website for the daily updated tarpon reports, as once that starts going I usually don’t update this site as much.
Got out for a full day today with long time customers Bill and Elaine. We decided to mix it up and keep things simple as I told them the last couple days had been a little slow. We caught some pilchards early on and had some live shrimp and headed out. We found a few local islamorada snook first thing and Elaine caught a nice 8 lber on her own cast! Great start to the day. We were going to hit the bayside for some mackerel but had a report that it was slow there, so we ventured around some local islands for mangrove snapper. We found some big snappers which was great but were also rewarded with more. We found a good school of little tarpon and managed to catch a couple and miss a couple more. We also got another snook and a redfish. A welcome surprise we normally don’t see those fish in these areas, but since IRMA weird things like that have happened. After that we headed into the gulf to mackerel fish and that was good action. Not a ton of mackerel but we probably caught 8 or so, but plenty of blue runners and some big snappers out there too. We tried some spots in the backcountry for snook and redfish but no luck back there, it was still a little muddy looking I thought. We tried for big tarpon back their briefly and again locally near home but no luck. I did not see the big school of tarpon like we saw yesterday near home, but I’m sure there are some around with as warm as it is. Off tomorrow for boat service, then available Wednesday if anyone wants to go. I’ll be fishing Thursday for sure hopefully the bite stays like it was today, the winds will be swinging more easterly as opposed to southeasterly which can make a big difference.