Backcountry Fishing Reports

October/Early November Fishing Report for Islamorada

Well we’re getting near to years end and well into Fall.  We’ve started to have a few weaker cold fronts get us down here, not that it’s gotten cold but we’ve had the northerly winds and dryer air.  And as a matter of fact this coming weekend is suppose to dip into the mid 60s so that’ll be a nice change.  Fishing has been across the board I’ll say overall pretty good.  Snook has been my staple as is often the case this time of year.  It’s not quite as good as it has been in recent years, there are areas where they seem to stack up but many other areas you just seem to pick one here and there.  Which still can lead to a great day but you aren’t slamming them left & right everywhere you stop.  The big snook that were around a little more last year aren’t quite as consistent this fall but have been getting a few here & there.  When the water is nice and conditions are right.  But definitely no guarantee.  Redfish have been few and far between, a few years ago too we had tons of reds around and now you maybe catch one or two a day mixed in with your snook.  Though guys who are getting super skinny had still been getting more redfish on the flats, but hopefully they’ll get better as the water cools off and they move deeper.  On some calmer days the gulf fishing was good for me the last month with some shots at permit out there and even got a nice african pompano one day.  Though last time out there the sharks got our permit and cobia we hooked but we did catch some big goliath grouper.  Bonefish fishing had been very good in October, I don’t normally do much of that as I have a big boat for it but even I was able to get into a few spots and catch them on several different days.  Though that will likely slow down as it cools off for winter.  Tarpon fishing honestly I havn’t done much of, I don’t think it’s been red hot in the backcountry for them though we do catch one randomly here & there.  I won’t be doing much of it though the next few months as it’s just too inconsistent when the weather starts to cool off.  But snook, redfish, drum, trout, sheepshead, etc.. should be a good bet in the everglades.  And on the calm days getting into the gulf for mackerel, cobia, and tripletail is fun too.  After next week I have plenty of open days until Thanksgiving, and plenty more until Christmas week as well.  I’ll also be opening days for next year probably on Monday this coming week, so make sure to sign up to my email list to get the notification when booking is available for early 2021 dates.

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

Early September Fishing in Islamorada

Well just had a 3 day fishing trip with Rob and his buddies Carl and Rick.  They were really wanting tarpon so we focused heavily on that.  Bait has been a little tough to get (the bait I like anyways – mullet!).  But I was able to get a good load of them the afternoon before we fished the first day.  Day 1 we had great tarpon action and found a good load of fish in a usual summer time haunt.  I think we hooked 7 or 8 fish, though unfortunately most of them came unbuttoned.  But we did land two and got one up for a picture with Rob.  Later on we blasted out to the gulf of mexico and checked a wreck, and found a good school of permit!  I don’t do a ton of this fishing, but when the conditions are right it can be fun in the summer time.  We caught 1 for Rick, and hooked several more but we either broke them off, had one get eaten by shark, or pulled the hooks on them.  But good action none the less.

Day 2 we just tarpon fished all day.  It was much tougher we did not find the big massive school of fish that was there the day before.  Just goes to show you things can change day to day, even when conditions are relatively the same.  After some hard looking we found a handful of tarpon and jumped a couple off just couldn’t keep them on there.  We spent the rest of the day hunting for tarpon and found a handful after a few stops but they didn’t really respond.  But we did catch a couple of cool sawfish for Carl as well as some sharks.

Day 3 we were out of mullet and tried for an hour in the morning to catch some early.  But they weren’t cooperative.  So we tarpon fished with our pinfish.  We found a decent group where they were a few days before, not quite as many but some.  But they weren’t really responsive to our pinfish though after an hour or so we did get a good bite, either a small tarpon or a monster snook, though after 30 seconds a big bull shark ate it!  Heartbreaker!  After that we went and searched for permit again which was productive, we caught a double header right off the bat.  Then hooked a few more but missed one and pulled the hook on another.  After that they were staying kind of deep and skittish, plus it was hard to see them as we had a little bit more breeze and chop on the water.

But overall a fun 3 days with the boys not big numbers of fish but that’s how it goes when you are fishing for trophy fish like tarpon and permit!

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

8/17/2021 Mid August Everglades Islamorada Fishing Report

Still plugging away here in August fishing in the backcountry.  I had my neighbor Andrew and his buddies John & Tim out yesterday for the day.  Little bit of breeze that picked up slowly throughout the day, though mostly easterly which isn’t bad for us usually.  We caught pilchards to start the day, our favorite small little baitfish for just about everything we catch.  That was easy enough but unfortunately when we got where we were going I opened the live well and everything was near dead!  A lone jellyfish had gotten in there and killed most of them, what way to start the day!  Thankfully the Contender bay boat has a second live well and I put one haul of bait in there just for backup which got us through!  We worked some shorelines early on and it was steady action for several hours.  Not really any red hot flurries, but catch a few here, a few there, maybe double or triple up in a few spots.  But nice consistent action which is always fun and moving the whole time.  All redfish and snook the reds were decent size too good to see them around.  After a few hours of that we headed towards home and stopped in one area to try for someting glorious.  Was hoping for a big snook possibly, but we were instead rewarded with quite a few large redfish, 4 tarpon, a goliath grouper, and a tripletail!  Just insane and very funny because I was at this same spot the day before with my dad and we never had a bite of anything.  Just goes to show you things can change like that from one day to the next.  Anyways awesome day I wish they were all that good, but possibilities like this are out there.  The next few months are ‘off season’ for business here so I’m not fishing every single day and have more shorter notice availability.  If you wanna get out and fish drop me a line, especially come September.

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

7/29/2021 End of July mixed bag fishing adventure in the Everglades!

I had George and his buddies out for a full day in the backcountry my last trip of July.  The weather was hot & very calm as has been the case for a little bit here.  Early July we had a lot of wind (for that time of year) and the last week or little more it’s finally calmed down.  The calm weather is generally good for fishing though you must be able to take the heat.  We were able to catch pilchards on our way out which there have been a few around.  They are great to have for fishing all kinds of things in the backcountry.  The ones available were small but they worked for us and we caught a couple dozen snook in the morning with them, plus a redfish that got eaten by a shark.  After we were done with that, we ran out in more open water and spent some time after tarpon.  We saw a few tripletails floating around and George caught a nice 8 lber, keeper size and a first for him!  We found tarpon and a decent number of them too.  However we had to put in some work for a bite we moved 3 or 4 times and caught several large blacktip sharks.  Finally we had a tarpon bite and landed a nice 40 lber!  After that we gave it one more go and a few more sharks kept us busy.  So all in all a great day with good variety and a backcountry slam for the boat!

August is here now and I have a good handful of days booked though a fair amount of availability especially the next two weeks.  To be honest I’m not pushing it very hard as it’s super hot and I had a pretty busy year, plus with kids at home I’m busy enough.  Though for anyone that wants to go fishing feel free to shoot me an email.  It can be good here all through the summer and fall.  Tarpon are definitely possible until it gets cold (though as stated it can definitely take some work and commitment to make it happen some days, and some days you may strike out).  But if you are open to mixing it up as we did today, there are often good opportunities available.  I also have Capt. Brandon running my second boat who will be available again starting mid August and he has had a stellar season so far.

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

End of July Everglades backcountry fishing in Islamorada

Well I had Brett and his buddy Cam out today visiting from the west coast California.  They wanted to do a bit more casting and action fishing so we didn’t focus heavy on tarpon.  The summer july tarpon fishing has been a little hit & miss as of late, been catching some fish but it’s really been a lot of work to produce a handful of bites.  So you better hope you catch the ones you get!  There are some tarpon around but yes just having to move around a lot, fish hard and pick through sharks & catfish, and make the most of your opportunities.  And they are moving around so they are in one area one day and gone the next so sometimes a lot of looking is required.  But anyways we skipped worry about all that and focused on snook fishing which was very good.  We were able to get some nice pilchards for bait and fished some islands and had a great snook bite, catching a couple dozen plus a few redfish as well.  We ended up getting some tripletail that were floating in the bay as well including a few nice keeper size ones that we released.  Then we finally did happen to stumble into a spread out group of tarpon in the last hour, and we put a little effort in and did manage to jump 1 off he didn’t stay on the hook.  But oh well can’t always control that my anglers did a great job not doing anything wrong just bad luck.

As we enter August things are slowing down a little bit with business (finally) I do have some open days the first couple weeks of August as of now.  If you are wanting to go fishing it can still be very productive just follow what your guide suggests!  Once we get into September and October those are really honestly some of my favorite times of year to fish as you get the place to yourself.  Also don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list to get updates on when I open up fishing days for next year, I’m just going to be taking more short notice bookings during prime season (feb – jul) and doing an email blast 1st come 1st serve.

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