2/15/18 February Fishing in the Florida Keys Backcountry

Got out for a full day with Howard and Mike, two return customers who fished with me last year.  We mixed it up a bit and tried a few different things, having some success with each.  We caught some pilchards to start our day and I had hoped we’d get in on some juvenile tarpon action that was good a few days ago.  We found the little tarpon, but they weren’t as active as I would’ve liked.  We couldn’t get them to respond but we did catch a couple nice mangrove snappers and a small barracuda.  After that we hit the gulf to try for some mackerel and other species.  We found a few mackerel and a bunch of big ladyfish and blue runners.  We moved out a bit further and got on a little bit better mackerel bite.  We saved much of this for bait for larger stuff later on.  We found some larger tarpon in the next stop and put out some bait for them.  Howard caught a nice cobia which was a surprise!  About a 30 lber, lots of fun and a first for him.  We saw a few tarpon showing a little ways away and moved into that area.  Mike had a tarpon bite soon after but he didn’t stay on the hook.  We had one other one that I beleive was a tarpon give us a quick zing on the rod but never got the hook in him either.  We did catch a few blacktip sharks, and Howard hooked what I think was a big sawfish (those are usually pretty easy to guess what they are).  He cut us off though but may of been for the better as it seemed like a big one that wasn’t stopping anytime soon.  Anyways that was about it for us for the day.  I’ll be back at it tomorrow not sure what we are doing and it’s a shorter 3/4 day, but tarpon may be on the menu.  Since it is so warm tarpon fishing will likely be a regular thing from here on out, barring any crazy cold fronts.  Be sure to check out my other website for the daily updated tarpon reports, as once that starts going I usually don’t update this site as much.

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