1/20/18 January Backcountry Fishing in the Florida Keys

Got out for a 3/4 day with Ray and his son Jeff today down from Maryland.  We planned to leave early at 615, but had to wait a little bit for the shrimp delivery so didn’t get out until 645.  I had shrimp stashed away but had to give some away to some guides in need yesterday afternoon who couldn’t get any bait in town.  So was hoping for some good fishing karma!  Luckily we got it today.  I knew it’d be busy out back on a saturday with the nice weather, and had almost bailed to go out mackerel fishing and not stress about boats being everywhere I wanted to go, but we gave it a shot anyways.  I was able to get near the spot I wanted luckily.  It started off slow we didn’t get much straight away, but after 20 minutes or so Jeff got a nice snook of 12 lbs or so!  A little bit later Ray got a nice snook roughly the same size!  The bite never got super red hot, but we had patience and every so often we’d get a very nice fish.  I think all the snook except one were over 10 lbs, and the other was probably 8 lbs, so very nice fish.  Probably a dozen in total I think!  Ray later had a good thump on his bait and got a nice juvenile tarpon.  We don’t catch many of them in islamorada in january when it’s this cold, so a nice surprise.  Jeff had a few black drum later, and then Ray got a redfish to complete his backcountry slam!  Also a sheepshead was caught, who I know was stealing our shrimp some too.  The last hour or so the tide quit and the bite slowed down, but we had an epic day for sure!  Quite a few nice, quality fish which if you caught just one of those snook in a day, you didn’t have a bad day.  The ride home was very nice the winds laid down even more.  Looks like we’ll be on a warming trend throughout the week with no more cold fronts in the short term.  I’ll be busy all week, after a day off tomorrow (so far), and then out of town next weekend after Saturday.  Might be time for tarpon when I get back we will see.  But give me a shout if you are wanting to get out fishing in February, it’s good!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing