Well today the weather absolutely slicked out flat calm and things really warmed up. Water temperatures in the bay got into the mid 70s, possibly higher in some areas. Usually the perfect condition for some winter time tarpon action. They can really show up from nowhere with a few days like this to let things warm back up. 75 degrees usually is the magic number for water temperatures usually. Anyways I had Duane, Diana, and their grandson Gilly out for the day. We started out catching some pilchards which we ended up not using much of, but caught a ton of glass minnows in my net too! This made a huge mess and wasn’t how I wanted to start the day, but we shook it off and went about our day. We hit the spanish mackerel grounds first out in the gulf. It looked good with nice water color and good falling tide as soon as we got there. We put the chum bag in and geared up with jigheads with heavy mono leader tipped with shrimp. We caught a mackerel first cast and I knew it was going to be good. Just about how you want the bite we probably caught 2 dozen or so and a variety of snappers too. Sometimes the mackerel fishing is ‘too good’ and then you end up getting cut off a lot as fish follow each other and sometimes bite at the knots in the line where your leader is tied! After we had enough of that we ran some lines looking for triple tail on the crab pot buoys. We didn’t see any on the way up towards the mainland. We stopped there to look for tarpon but didn’t see any signs of them in the first area we looked. We headed back along a different buoy line and found a few triple tails and caught two. Nothing big but fun to catch anyhow. We checked another channel for tarpon and this time hit the jackpot! As soon as I slowed down I saw tarpon on my sonar. After 10 minutes or so we saw a few start to roll. I knew we’d have a decent shot at getting one. We caught a few big blacktip sharks, and then we got a tarpon bite! A nice 100 lber he was a big fish. Unfortunately we didn’t get any good boatside pictures but my friends nearby snapped a nice pictures of us fighting him and the fish jumping. We got the fish on the leader but the hook popped out before we could get the pictures. After that we caught 3 sawfish which was really cool! I was hoping a few cobia may pop up on the sawfish but we didn’t see any. We headed home after that, what a great day! Out again for a full day tomorrow may give it a shot for the tarpon again. Saturday morning I have a half day available if anyone wants to go fishing!
Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing