Fishing Reports

Islamorada Fishing Reports for both offshore and backcountry fishing. You can scroll down and click the title of any fishing report to read the full thing with pictures, as well as just look where the text stops and click ‘continue reading’.

5/13/2024 May Islamorada Fishing Report

Well if you’ve been keeping up with my fishing reports on my other website (islamoradatarpon.com) you’ll know were in the midst of prime tarpon season!  This is all I myself do this time of year these days and I keep that site regularly updated with weekly reports of my activity.  This year the tarpon fishing has been good overall.  We had a slow start with some colder weather in February, but March it got right and we had several good weeks of fishing in the everglades backcountry for migratory tarpon.  Since the first week of April everything has been more local in the Keys with the bridges loading up with big tarpon.  We’ve had good fishing since then and if there is one thing I can say about it, it’s been consistent.  Most days have yielded 6-8 bites on average, with 3 or 4 fish landed.  That means we get them ‘on the leader’ not always laid up next to the boat where they will take a nice picture!  Getting a picture with a silver king is a whole other battle though we often get a cooperative one during the day.  Tarpon will be my main thing going through into June and then we’ll start mixing things up a little more in the backcountry for the summer time.  July, August, and even September & October can still have great opportunities for tarpon.  Last year September was a really good month for me fishing in the backcountry for tarpon.  Also snook fishing in the summer and fall is usually a good bet.  It’s not super busy then and if you are wanting to come down in the summer and fall, drop me a line we can get something on the books.  Other than tarpon right now, Capt. Stephen and Capt. Trent who run my other boats have been getting into a good mix of fish.  There has been a decent number of local permit the last month around the bridges and channels, and the guys have had good luck with that.  Bonefish fishing has been really good this spring and hopefully will continue into the summer as well.  That means opportunities at SLAMS for lucky anglers.  Capt. Trent and Capt. Steve are also still available for evening tarpon trips which are a good bet in June and July.  You really get the place to yourself as business starts to slow down and being out there from 4pm to 8pm is a nice time of day, with sunset usually bringing productive fishing if it doesn’t happen earlier for you.  Again give me a shout if you want to get a trip booked, school will be out before you know it!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

3/14/24 Another great week of tarpon fishing in Islamorada

Well we had some good fishing this past week again here in Islamorada… The tarpon bite is on!  We had a late cold front last weekend but it was a weak one so the temperatures didn’t really drop.  The water stayed in the mid 70 degree range so the fish didn’t really get too bothered thankfully.  Sometimes those late fronts can really mess up the early season tarpon thing, but I’ve often found in recent years if the tarpon are here and happy and settled, it can still be decent as long as it doesn’t get super cold.  That was the case for us we ended up fishing Monday and had the north winds and ‘cold front’ winter feel to the day, but the tarpon were out and about.  We had to work for it but we did get 3 bites and landed 3 fish, so a good day for sure!  That was with my good repeat client Irv.  The next two days I had Bob, Bobby, and Joe and the conditions were back to what we like in the spring.  Moderate/light winds out of the east/southeast.  The tarpon were definitely showing a lot more doing there thing… jumping, splashing, and putting on a show in general.  We often see these ‘free jumpers’ this time of year – as far as you look sometimes you’ll see tarpon jumping around!  It’s quite a sight to behold.  The bite itself really wasn’t super red hot we had to still work at it a little bit.  But we managed 4 bites on the first day Tuesday with them, and 5 bites on Wednesdays.  We landed 8 of those fish so very good landing ratio and the boys all got a good picture boatside with a fish, including two fish over 100 lbs so that was awesome!  These days it’s not very easy getting boatside pictures and I often don’t allow it as the sharks can be very bad eating the fish and not to mention your arm if it’s in the water holding it.  But we had sharks only go after a couple of those fish which we broke off once they started freaking out to allow them the chance to escape.  Luckily in the muddy water there odds of getting away if released in time seem to be better.

Capt. Trent also had some really good fishing lately with some juvenile tarpon, snook, snappers, and groupers all in a day!  He’s been having a great season so far and he’s wanting to fish fish fish.  I’m on spring break myself here now so won’t be fishing again much until end of March.  But the conditions look pretty good still, no majorly windy days until possibly next weekend.  It’s really nice having such nice march weather after a tougher February with wind, cold, and rain.  We’re starting to offer evening trips now so if you want to catch a tarpon that is a great time to go.  You can often book it more short notice as that time slot doesn’t book up in advance as much as the mornings or full days.  That means you can somewhat cherry pick your conditions sometimes too.  Capt. Trent is often available short notice and doesn’t mind going for an evening trip after a full day.  So if you get the itch give me a shout and I’ll try and get it put together for your.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

3/6/2024 Early March Tarpon fishing is heating up!

Well March is here and we finally have said goodbye to the cold weather of February thankfully!  It was a rough late winter with cold and rain and we were definitely over it.  Thankfully March so far has been fairly calm and mild which is unusual as it is often one of our windiest months of the year.  The forecast looks pretty mild too for the next 10 days or so but nothing surprises me much anymore with the weather!  Tarpon have been showing up in force since this past weekend.  Thousands of fish fresh in from the gulf are staging up in the backcountry ready to make there annual migration through the Florida Keys to spawn.  We’ve had great fishing the past week I’ve been out each day since Sunday and we’ve had multiple tarpon caught each day and many more hooked.  As long as the weather stays fairly warm they should be strong out there for the rest of the month into early April.  Then we start bridge fishing a little bit more locally through May and early June.  But the next few months are typically what we consider ‘prime’ tarpon season.  So if you want to catch one it’s a good time to go!  We had lots of fish eating fresh mullet which are fairly plentiful right now and the guys who work hard are making sure to keep stocked up with them.  We also have been having good luck with live pinfish which is a cool bite and the nice thing about those guys they are easy to keep in the livewell and stay pretty hardy without much care.  As of late the incoming tide has been the ticket with the tarpon but we’ll be switching to falling tide for our fishing window next week.  I think it’ll be fine though this week we had funky tides so the fall was very weak when it started out and didn’t last long.  But that should be a different scenario next week.  Anyways it’s super busy here now but we have openings if not with myself Capt. Steve or Capt. Trent are dialed in on the silver kings as well.  Give me a shout and let’s get you that trophy tarpon of a life time!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

2/23/24 Late February and it’s still cold in Islamorada!

Well the cold fronts just don’t want to stop coming… it’s been a late winter as I’m sure a lot of people are well aware.  In recent years we’ve often had warm spring highs in the 80s by the 1st week of February, with maybe only a light front or two coming through the rest of the spring.  This year though hold up – it’s been front after front since late January and many dropping down into the mid 50s.  Which isn’t a bad thing always it’s good for the winter time fishing snook, drum, redfish, trout, etc… however for tarpon not so much.  And tarpon is often our bread and butter and what we push the most but just have to remember we’ve always said February is early and this is why!  I did get out with my dad yesterday and we had a fun time.  Just fished for trophies… looking for large snook, drum, or redfish.  Didn’t find much early on with the fallling tide and cold water.  The water was in the high 50s the lowest we saw it, and mid 60s offshore in the backcountry.  But when the tide started rolling in the water cleared up a good bit.  We got one decent drum in one area then one of our last stops we got into a good school and caught another 4 or 5.  Not monster fish but good 12 to 16 lbers good fighters and great to see.  Overall our winter fishing has been a little tough the numbers of snook, reds, and drum is just not what it was a few years ago.  So that’s another reason we’re really ready for the tarpon to get here.  We’re catching them but you do have to put in some time and often pick a fish or two on a spot and move and hope for the same.  But I think the tarpon fishing will be very strong through spring and hopefully early summer, at least with the later start it should be better for the later season in that late May/June timeframe.

We still have availability through season with the Islamorada Tarpon Fishing team, and I myself have days personally still in June.  Give me a shout and let’s set something up!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

1/30/24 Cold Islamorada weather got us a big snook!

Got out with pops today we had another cold front come and dropped down into the high 50s here in Islamorada.  We only had a couple fronts in December/early january but now we’re getting a few more with another one on the way next week.  The cold gives us different fishing opportunities and depending when you catch it can be really good or really tough.  Often when it first gets cold can be tough especially in the early morning while temperatures are low.  But often once it warms up slightly by 10/11AM, then you can have stellar fishing on some days.  And once the fish are adjusted to it if its been cold for several days and the wind drops out, you can have good fishing the whole time.  Big fish tend to show up in and around those cold days some of the nicest catches I can remember, but of course you have to remember the time you put in for those bites.  Today I had my dad out and we were fun fishing.  It got cold and I thought might be ‘the day’ but the wind had cranked hard last night a little more westerly than we thought and it was pretty muddy everywhere we were hoping for that shot at a trophy.  Though we ended up making it happen getting a nice over slot snook of about 16 lbs at the end of our trip.  It suppose to get colder tomorrow night and then the wind is going to lay out for a few days.  You can bet one of those days will be productive as soon as that water clears up slightly which it can do pretty quick when those water temperatures drop drastically.  The cold water tends to have the sediment drop out quicker than when its hot.  I don’t know if I’ll get out again myself this week but Capt. Stephen is fishing Thursday and is open tomorrow and Friday.  If anyone is looking to go it’ll be a great time for the gulf with mackerels, snappers, and tripletails, and then have a shot at trophy big snook or cobia or something like that.  February is right around the corner and I imagine by the 2nd week we’ll be after some tarpon again.  I know before this front came in a few days ago the one slick calm warm day we had, tons of tarpon were around in the backcountry so I’m sure they are just waiting for the next warm up to come and play.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina