Day 2 with Scotlands own Ricky Walker and Paul Young. We had slick calm conditions today, prefrontal with another cold front coming in over the next 24 hours. I had stocked up on some bait the last couple days knowing we’d have a couple slick days and the big tarpon might show up. Yesterday we saw a decent amount but they did not respond for us. Today though we got into a gaggle of them early in the morning. We didn’t have much tide though and as we waited for it to switch, the group of fish definitely seemed to spread out. We moved around and kept at it for a couple hours. We caught some big blacktip sharks to keep us busy, then just as we were almost going to call it quits, Ricky’s rod went off and a monster tarpon went airborne! We chased him down and Ricky fought him well. We got him on the leader within about 15 minutes, but boatside he just did not want to roll over for us. Every time we thought we had him about ready to get a quick picture, he’d take off and try to go under the boat or back out again. Finally we subdued the fish and got a few pictures, but unfortunately we didn’t get many good ones before the fish went berserk and snapped the line whilst we had him leadered. Big fish are so tough to get good pics of because you don’t want to wear them down until they are lifeless, and all it takes is a few good tail kicks to get under the boat and snap! But we got a few decent shots anyways. A thrilling catch for the middle of winter here in the Keys, but flat calm conditions they can show up in a hurry any time of year! After that we caught some redfish in the shallows which was good. We tried a few gulf spots and caught a nice 40 lb goliath grouper out there but did not see much else. We tried another area for some big critters and got caught in the wreck on another goliath, and had a big shark that we pulled the hook on. We decided to try a few spots I hadn’t been to on the way home, and found some nice trout and redfish in there too which was good to see. Anyways another fantastic day and awesome to get a big tarpon, have not caught one that size in quite a few months. Off tomorrow then back at it Friday, but plenty of days open after that for the next week, including this weekend! Fishing has been stellar and the usual winter time stuff should continue to be so.
Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing