9/4/2023 September Fishing in the Florida Keys!

Got out on a group trip and ran the boat myself along with another captain on our SeaCraft bay boat.  Capt. Stephen who runs my boat is out of town for September so I’ll be running a few trips this month but he’ll be back in October and that is an awesome time of year to fish with all the bait runs etc…  So we had a group of english gentlemen over for a couple days of fishing.  Day 1 on Sunday we caught pilchards early on.  Plenty of bait around and seems it’s been in a few different spots so that is always a good thing… getting good live bait can easily make or break your day.  We loaded up on a mix of sandy key and razor belly pilchards and then headed back into the backcountry.  We stuck around the Flamingo area as that’s been a little more consistent fishing as of late.  First stop we hit an island with the start of the falling tide.  Picked away on some snook it wasn’t red hot but not bad either probably caught a dozen or so in an hour or more, plus a juvenile tarpon.  Enough action to keep it interesting and tough enough to feel rewarding!  After that we tried another island which was really kind of dead.  We hooked one fish there but it got us into some structure I’m thinking likely a goliath grouper.  After that we decided to put the big gear out for some tarpon.  Sure enough we saw signs of tarpon in the first area we stopped… not tons of fish but just a splash and bust that I knew was the silver king.  We looked around and ended up marking some fish on the sonar.  We set up and about 20 minutes later a 100 lb fish goes airing out – got ’em on!  Unfortunately after about 30 seconds he went through the leader on us.  Doesn’t happen often but occasionally it does.  We shook it off and set back up and sure enough a small fish rolled right nearby so we moved in front of him and hooked up again pretty quick!  This fish we got boatside but couldn’t get pictures of unfortunately as he made one good run and got under the boat and popped off, but a technical release none the less.  After that we had about an hour left and we went and hit some channel runoffs on the bottom of the tide and caught another dozen or so snook.  So all in all a productive day!

Day 2 we focused on the big rods primarly.  The wind had really kicked up northeasterly and it was almost cool feeling.  The air really dried out and had that fall feel and the water temps are down around 81 now too.  Anyways we ran further back in the backcountry and found some tarpon again early on.  Again not big schools but a good solid handful and we got lined up on what we saw and had 3 bites and landed 2 fish.  Got good pictures of one this time!  We caught a few sharks as well including a big lemon shark which was fun.  Later on we ran back to flamingo and in the same area we had our tarpon action the day before we marked a little group of half a dozen fish.  Set up and after about 20 minutes – boom! – double header!  We landed both fish and got a cool picture which was awesome and made these guys trip for sure!   After that we caught a couple of juvenile goliath groupers on our pinfish and had a couple more break us off on structure, but nice way to end the day there too.

September can be great fishing here don’t be fooled.  It’s also the slowest time of year with business so flights are cheaper, hotels are cheaper, you can get in all the good resturants… lots of upsides to coming here in September and October!  I may take a few more trips this month and Capt. Steve will be on the helm again in October.  The SeaCraft is also available this month as well so give us a call if you want to get out!

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