2/16/17 + 2/17/17 February Backcountry Islamorada Fishing Report

Got out with John, Jim, and Joe the last couple of days.  Yesterday winds were honking out of the west north west as a cold front came upon us.  The temperatures didn’t drop until last night, but it was a steady 18-20 mph breeze through the day.  The near gulf bay was too rough to get in, so we tried some areas in the backcountry that border on the gulf.  It was a bit muddy out there and didn’t catch much besides a couple ladyfish and a bluefish.  So we hit some islands for some mangrove snappers.  We were able to pick enough for dinner.  After that we caught a big sawfish which was cool, had another one on too that we broke off.  We then hit the backcountry canals and tried for some snook.  It wasn’t red hot but we did catch a couple, and lost a 3rd one that may of possibly been a juvenile goliath grouper, couldn’t tell as he got us in the sticks pretty quickly.  After that it was was time to come home.

Today it was much nicer it was a little breezy out of the north in the AM and chilly down in the low 60s.  It warmed up pretty quickly though and by mid day the winds were almost nothing.  We hammered the spanish mackerel in the morning along with a few snappers and jacks.  We then hit a few patch reefs on the atlantic ocean side.  Mangrove snappers were in the first one and we got a few of them for dinner again.  Next stop had plenty of lane snappers and a couple porgies.  Water every where was very green.  Didn’t find any hogfish which I was hoping for, but the blacktip sharks were swarming out there which was interesting.  They were eating about every other fish we hooked, or at least trying too!  We put a big rod out and caught one for fun.  After that we tried another patch reef in a different area without much luck, then tried drifting shrimp around the bridges.  We had a couple good bites and lost a big fish – not sure what – in some structure around the bridge.  After that the boys wanted to go in to catch a flight.  We cleaned some fish and that was it.  All in all we had some fun and decent fishing given the not so great conditions yesterday especially.

Looks like the temps will stay cool tonight in the low 60s, but not suppose to blow hard and should warm back up in a few days.  Hopefully those tarpon will be getting more active again I’m sure once the water temps get back in the high 70s they will be!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk