1/21/15 January Fishing Report Islamorada Backcountry

Greetings friends and I hope your winter is as fabulous as ours has been here in the Florida Keys in January.  Our winter islamorada fishing charters have not disappointed and the bite has been overall just good.  We’ve been mixing things up a lot lately with a variety of types of fishing as is the norm in the winter time.  The most consistent trip for action has been in the gulf.  The spanish mackerel have been biting voraciously on both the incoming and outgoing tides.  With my larger center console boat I can get out there just about any day.  We’ve been hanging the chum bag and fast jigging with shrimp.  The mackerel are in the 3-5 lb range mostly and we’ve been getting double digit catches just about every trip.   Some days they are waiting there when you set up and anchor, others you may have to sit and chum for 30 minutes, but they’ve always been finding us.  Out there too are very large blacktip sharks and they have been a good alternative to tarpon if you want to pull on something big that jumps and puts on a show!  Yesterday we found some tripletail further out in the gulf as well which is a fun option for those wanting to ‘sight fish’ especially on a calm nice day.  Fishing the everglades in january has not been quite as red hot with action, though for anglers looking for more of a challenge and opportunity to catch more of a trophy type fish it is a good bet.  We’ve been getting redfish, snook, blackdrum, and sheepshead most days.  Some days it is good and you will catch a few fish in every spot you hit, other days you may strike out and hopefully find at least one spot holding some good fish.  Of course days when the ‘honey holes’ are not producing we often put the trolling motor in and just work creeks, channels, and shorelines to cover more ground and put you on the fish.  The bite can turn on in an instant though, especially with an impending cold front.  We got a huge 20 lb black drum yesterday as well as a nice big redfish, plus several other drum, snook, trout, and tripletail.  Andy and his sons who have fished with me for years and have been blessed with good days just about every time had to work for them a few days ago, but did manage a good trip with 8 nice redfish, a snook, a sheepshead, and finished up with about 15 spanish mackerel and a couple bluefish.  Out front the other great option especially for half days has been the florida keys patch reef fishing.  Porgy, hogfish, snapper, and grouper have been consistent out there and it’s often all the rod bending action you could ask for.  We got into a good bite of barracuda the other day too, which was lots of fun with big live pilchards for bait.  This is great for people wanting a few fish for dinner too as I promise you will not find better eating fish anywhere.  If your looking to get out on the water give me a call I have a few days open in January left, and February is starting to fill up fast as that marks the traditional start of our busy season.  Tarpon fishing should be starting to get better as we get into February that is when I start focusing on that more as it is consistently warmer.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk