2023 Season is here, book your fishing trip today!

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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 he or I am not available I recommend Capt. Trentin Leary who runs our 20′ SeaCraft – they are available any days in advance.  If you have a dream of catching & mounting a trophy tarpon please email me to get your dates locked in!  I’ve spent time training some new younger captains to run some of my vessels for me and I can give you information for booking them, as I am fishing a much more limited schedule myself these days.  They’ve learned lots of the tips & tricks I’ve found over the last 15 years of my professional guiding career, putting in hard work & time!  You can see what we’ve been catching here lately on our regularly updated fishing reports.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
305-747-6903
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

For updated tarpon fishing reports, look at http://www.islamoradatarpon.com

9/19/2023 Big Snooks were chewin’

Got out with pops today for a little fun fishing.  It was fairly calm with a light east breeze and falling tide most of the time we fished.  We went in search of large snook as we often do when I’m fishing with him.  We’ve been having fairly good luck as of late it’s nice to see these fish around in a somewhat consistent manner.  I’ve definitely put a lot of time and research into fishing for the big ones and they’re never a guarantee and I truly do appreciate every one we get to lay eyes on!  Anyways we started out with a bang and caught a decent size one and a smaller one in the first stop.  After that we tried a couple of areas with no love aside from a small goliath grouper.  Though the next stop we found a good group of fish.  Didn’t really notice any significant signs of them being there aside from getting thumped as soon as our bait got into the area we were trying to hit!  We caught a couple large fish and then I ended up hooking a monster that hit my pinfish while i was reeling it in to get it out of the way of another fish we had on!  Great fish and boy did she zip some line.  After that we had a shark get one and decided to leave that area alone for the rest of the time.  After that things more or less dried up though we did end up catching one more decent size fish on the way home, making it a total of 8 or so for the day, including a couple ‘jumbo’ size ones, which for larger size snook is really good!  We did not see much for tarpon life today though, I didn’t really try fishing for them but definitely had my eyes peeled as I’ll likely be doing that the next few days some as I have trips coming up.  Doesn’t mean they aren’t there but definitely not the big school I saw last week that was so productive.  Oh well hopefully tomorrow they’ll appear!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

9/11/2023 Banner tarpon fishing continues

Tarpon fishing continues to be red hot this September.  I fished a couple days back to back on the 10th and 11th.  We found a massive school of tarpon in the backcountry both days and had phenomenal fishing!  First day we actually stumbled into them while snook fishing.  Had quite a few bites and landed four fish.  Lots of action on our mullet and my regular customer Jeff had an awesome time.  The following day we looked around and didn’t see them in quite the same area, but a few miles south we saw a few splashing around as we drove by and sure enough it was them again!  Same thing lots of action on our mullet and it lasted for several hours.  Obviously I can’t say what’s going to happen from here on out but I think we’ll still have good tarpon fishing for a bit hopefully through October and maybe into early November even if it stays warm.  The mullet we use to catch these fish has been around too though not always easily catchable… but usually if we have a trip it’s not super busy so we’ll try to catch bait before hand if possible.  Same with fishing sometimes catching bait is all about being in the right place at the right time to catch it, and it can either be a ‘one and done’ throwing the net and catching 80 at once, or spending an hour throwing a bunch of times to come up with just a handful.  But good news is I just loaded up my cooler for my next few trips next week but if anything pops up in the meantime I’m ready!  Give me a shout if you want to get out this fall for tarpon or any other species we have captains ready and waiting to go.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

9/4/2023 September Fishing in the Florida Keys!

Got out on a group trip and ran the boat myself along with another captain on our SeaCraft bay boat.  Capt. Stephen who runs my boat is out of town for September so I’ll be running a few trips this month but he’ll be back in October and that is an awesome time of year to fish with all the bait runs etc…  So we had a group of english gentlemen over for a couple days of fishing.  Day 1 on Sunday we caught pilchards early on.  Plenty of bait around and seems it’s been in a few different spots so that is always a good thing… getting good live bait can easily make or break your day.  We loaded up on a mix of sandy key and razor belly pilchards and then headed back into the backcountry.  We stuck around the Flamingo area as that’s been a little more consistent fishing as of late.  First stop we hit an island with the start of the falling tide.  Picked away on some snook it wasn’t red hot but not bad either probably caught a dozen or so in an hour or more, plus a juvenile tarpon.  Enough action to keep it interesting and tough enough to feel rewarding!  After that we tried another island which was really kind of dead.  We hooked one fish there but it got us into some structure I’m thinking likely a goliath grouper.  After that we decided to put the big gear out for some tarpon.  Sure enough we saw signs of tarpon in the first area we stopped… not tons of fish but just a splash and bust that I knew was the silver king.  We looked around and ended up marking some fish on the sonar.  We set up and about 20 minutes later a 100 lb fish goes airing out – got ’em on!  Unfortunately after about 30 seconds he went through the leader on us.  Doesn’t happen often but occasionally it does.  We shook it off and set back up and sure enough a small fish rolled right nearby so we moved in front of him and hooked up again pretty quick!  This fish we got boatside but couldn’t get pictures of unfortunately as he made one good run and got under the boat and popped off, but a technical release none the less.  After that we had about an hour left and we went and hit some channel runoffs on the bottom of the tide and caught another dozen or so snook.  So all in all a productive day!

Day 2 we focused on the big rods primarly.  The wind had really kicked up northeasterly and it was almost cool feeling.  The air really dried out and had that fall feel and the water temps are down around 81 now too.  Anyways we ran further back in the backcountry and found some tarpon again early on.  Again not big schools but a good solid handful and we got lined up on what we saw and had 3 bites and landed 2 fish.  Got good pictures of one this time!  We caught a few sharks as well including a big lemon shark which was fun.  Later on we ran back to flamingo and in the same area we had our tarpon action the day before we marked a little group of half a dozen fish.  Set up and after about 20 minutes – boom! – double header!  We landed both fish and got a cool picture which was awesome and made these guys trip for sure!   After that we caught a couple of juvenile goliath groupers on our pinfish and had a couple more break us off on structure, but nice way to end the day there too.

September can be great fishing here don’t be fooled.  It’s also the slowest time of year with business so flights are cheaper, hotels are cheaper, you can get in all the good resturants… lots of upsides to coming here in September and October!  I may take a few more trips this month and Capt. Steve will be on the helm again in October.  The SeaCraft is also available this month as well so give us a call if you want to get out!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

8/1/23 Banner day with Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn!

Got out with our pal Ron Modra and he brought along a good friend of his Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, along with Ronnies son Jesse and grandon Huxton!  It was quite the day we found plenty of small finger mullets deep in the backcountry.  There has been a pretty steady bait run back there the last month… it’s not always easy to find and sometimes the bait kinda moves around, but for the most part on falling tides we’ve been able to get in on it.  We caught a bunch of ’em and proceed to feed them to plenty of small & medium size snooks.  The boys all had a ball Huxton caught the most and was kind of putting on a clinic!  After that we went and found a big spawning aggregation of large snook that we found the previous day.  They were really biting today we ended up hooking i think 6 or 7 and landed 5, mostly all in one area which was really cool.  Often times with those big ones you are lucky to get one and then they shut off but maybe the full moon had them a little happier?  It was really incredible and Huxton also caught and landed a large 75 lb goliath grouper on light tackle which was really cool.  After that the weather started to build and we ran towards home though we ended up coming across a school of rolling tarpon where it was still all slicked out.  We put baits out for about 15 minutes and Ronnie ended up landing a juvenile tarpon (under 40 inches) so we lifted him out for a quick picture before healthy release.  Huxton caught another big snook too which was following the tarpon around I guess which was really cool and unexpected.  After that we headed home but wow just what an incredible day it was!

Fishing is still really good and August is slow with business so if you want to get out fishing give me a shout!  I’ll be taking a handful of trips here & there but Capt. Stephen is back in town from the Bahamas and I’m working closely with him so he’s up to date on everything going on in the backcountry.  Come get it while the gettin’s good!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

Summer time in Islamorada June Fishing Report

Well I’ve been fishing a little here & there in June but Capt. Stephen has been running the boat a bit more regularly.  With my kids out of school now and also my wife broke her ankle last week I’ve definitely had my hands full but luckily things with Capt. Stephen running the boat for me part time is working out very well.  He’s been fishing a lot with me on charters as well as when I go with my dad once a week for fun and I’ve been able to really share with him exactly what I do fishing wise.  We’re working together to keep stocked up on bait when possible and being there isn’t any threat of competition sharing fishing knowledge entirely day to day.   So as far as fishing goes lately we had some good summer tarpon action in early June in the backcountry however that has slowed down a little bit.  There are still tarpon around and you can definitely have some good fishing for them but the last week and foreseeable future we have some southerly wind which kinda seems to keep them down a little more and not quite as happy as they are when we have more easterly wind direction.  But luckily we’ve been mixing it up with snook lately and the snook bite thus far has been incredible.  Seeing lots of fish on the shorelines which is great even with the not-so-great southerly winds.  Lots of small and medium size fish and good rod bending action.  I’ve been catching a handful of larger snook with my dad when we go do that ‘trophy fishing’ but that has often been fishing all day for a bite or two so not what we’re doing necessarily all the time on charters.  Tripletail fishing this summer has been a little slow we’re not really seeing a lot of them floating freely which is unusual but we have been catching a few off structure here & there.  Lots of bait is around in the backcountry too which is good to see and overall very nice water quality even with the south wind which has a tendency to make it muddier as it blows on shore.  Overall I think things look promising for July and the later summer.  The last couple of years we had somewhat mediocre later summer tarpon fishing though with all the bait we’re seeing now and the cleaner water, I think it’s lining up to be productive when we get a little shift to that later summer mode.  And the fall may be very good too when we have that wind direction change and start getting more northeasterly breezes and the bait runs I’m really interested to see what happens there.

Anyways if you want to get out fishing give me a shout again I’m sharing duties with Capt. Stephen though I’ll be booking stuff directly more short notice if you are wanting to fish with me.  Stephen will be in the Bahamas over July so I’ll be running a few trips then.  But I also have Capt. Brandon still running the seacraft and Capt. Trentin running our 18′ action craft.  They both have plenty of availability as well.  Capt. Trentin will be available for some evening trips in July too so that can be a very productive time for tarpon fishing if you are here during July and it’s not very busy on the water then so you really get it to yourself.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina