12/29/18 Late December Gulf of Mexico fishing report

What a day with Mike and his son Chase! Chase fishes some bass tournaments in college and was looking forward to doing some saltwater fishing down here. The winds laid down nicely from yesterday, it was near flat calm in the backcountry. Often this happens when the water is a little chillier back there, the wind can be blowing on the atlantic side but really changes as it gets over the colder bay. It looked like conditions where big things could happen. We started off looking for redfish and snook on the top of the tide. Very stirred up in a lot of areas from all that wind we had, but we picked a couple reds in several spots and lots of jacks. Eventually we got on to a better bite but it took a little bit to get going. But we ended up getting into the reds pretty good and actually quite a few snook as well! Nothing huge but some reds up to 18/19 inches, and some snook up to 25 inches or so. The tide was getting low after a bit though and we then had to keep moving! Next stop we found a couple nice black drums to pull on and another redfish. Lots of catfish here too but to be expected with how muddy the water was. But we got what we were after! We then decided to check out the gulf as it was slick calm out there now. We looked at the buoys for some tripletails but did not see a whole lot. We did see a handful, but unfortunately they were a little spooky for us and didn’t eat before shutting off on us. We made a stop on a spot to look for something quality where some boats were just leaving and figured we’d give it a shot for something nice. We caught a few jack crevelles, then all of a sudden a big cobia chased the jacks right up! Next cast, Chase was hooked up to a cobia and another one followed him up along with a permit! We pitched at the second fish a few times, and eventually got him to eat too but he didn’t stay buttoned on. After a 30 minute battle though, Chase landed his cobia, close to a 40 lber on 20 lb spin tackle! His biggest fish ever! We got some pics and let her swim away as the boys didn’t want to keep any fish and I like to get some good fishing karma. We motored back and had one pinfish we put out. After about 10 minutes we hooked a few more jacks and same thing, another cobia came barging in after them! Mike reeled his pinfish up in front of him and soon he was hooked up too! Again another good battle and we landed Mikes fish as well, which was a personal best size fish for him too! It was all smiles after that, we looked for some tripletails on the way home and did have one more shot but the fish just stared down our shrimp before swimming off. But all in all a banner day, the boys want to come back to do some tarpon fishing next year and I look forward to that!

I’m open tomorrow if anyone is looking to go… don’t have to tell you the fishing is epic right now!

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