1/21/19 + 1/22/19 Full Day backcountry fishing in Islamorada

1/21/19 – Had regulars Frank and Julie out for the day.  Fishing was a little tough, we had a drastic drop in temperature, coupled with 25 mph west winds blowing the day before.  So the fish weren’t really happy and water very muddy.  We were able to pick away though.  Didn’t catch much of anything the first couple hours aside from a trout and a few catfish.  Finally around 10:00 we started to pick away at a few black drums, catching 5 or so along with a redfish.  Tide got high enough to jump in some other areas where I hoped some snook or other things may start biting with it warming up.  But no luck and water again was super muddy and nasty looking.  We bailed and tried some spots on the way home, tide wasn’t right in the first stop so we just kept moving.  Stopped by an island and did catch our limit of snappers for dinner, and a few more redfish.  Toughest day I’ve had fishing wise in a long time, but not terrible we had a good time which is the most important and some fish for dinner too!

1/22/19 – Got out with Joe and his dad Harold today, other regulars of mine.  Last year they caught it right and we caught several monster snook and some nice black drums in the gulf.  One of those perfect days where it got cold but was calm.  This year though not as much luck there, it was blowing pretty good.  Luckily though once we got half way into the bay, the wind died out as the cold bay water often does helped kill it, and was a more favorable direction north instead of southeast.  We made it deep into the backcountry.  Not much early on a black drum and trout, but when the tide bottomed out we got into a good creek and caught a bunch of redfish, a few snook, a few trout, and a sheepshead.  Even saw an otter which was a first for me!  Didn’t have time to get a picture though.  When the tide got a little higher we jumped into another hold and again bailed more redfish and a few more snook.  Good fishing!  The wind now though started cranking out of the east.  We hit one more stop and caught some more fish then headed home.  Unfortunately we had some motor issues half way back.  Broke down about 20 miles from home but luckily I have nice friends, and one of them came and picked my clients up and got them home by 4 PM or so, then the other towed me in and we got back around 6:45 just before dark.  Was a long wet ride in the 25 mph winds, but could of been much worse as we could’ve broke down 40 miles back there!  So at least Joe and Harold got to enjoy a great day fishing and just got home a little later than expected so no big deal.  I brought the boat over to the service center today hopefully for a quick diagnosis and maybe with any luck it’ll be back in operation Friday.  My friend who towed me is out of town and actually has my same boat so I am borrowing it for some trips until he gets back Sunday.  Then I’ll have another skiff to use if necessary but hopefully I’ll get mine back before that.  Oh well these things happen and could definitely of been worse!

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