8/14/18 Mid August Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada

Got out with Jim and his daughters Shelby and Chloe today for a 3/4 day trip.  We were scheduled to go out yesterday though they had a little mix up in the booking office and had Jim down for Sunday which he wasn’t going to be here for.  Luckily he was able to go today and the forecast looked fairly good aside from the typical thunderstorms, so we kept it at that.  Yesterday the winds kicked up a little bit, not blowing like crazy, but not the flat calm that we had over the weekend.  My buddy who was out said the fish shifted around a little bit and he had to work hard to get a few bites.  We got out into the backcountry and started off catching some bait which wasn’t too bad, we did have to put a little time in but it paid off.  We also had some leftovers from a few days ago so we were in good shape.  We checked out the channel where my buddy had found them good yesterday but didn’t see much in the early morning.  We set up and fished for a bit and eventually got a shark but that was it.   Of course some storms had been building up and were headed our way so we had to dodge around a bit.  We tried some other channels around flamingo and stumbled into a couple big balls of mullet and saw a couple tarpon busting into them.  We set up and fished and caught a big bull shark here and a few smaller blacktips.  Then the weather started to get nicer and the winds laid back down though still overcast.  We were about to bail but saw some signs of tarpon again and gave it a little more time.  Eventually Chloe hooked a nice tarpon though he came off after about 10 seconds, nothing she did wrong just not buttoned very good on the hook.  A few minutes later Shelby got one, this one stayed on and we chased after him using the trolling motor.  We got him boatside for a technical release, then he gave one more big jump which we got a good picture of but unfortunately threw the hook at that point so we did not get him to the hand which happens sometimes.  We gave it another whirl and things slowed down somewhat.  We did see another tarpon roll and shifted around a bit and Jim got a good bite real quick, but the fish didn’t swallow the bait we got hook and bait back in all.  After that it seemed like i was over but glad we had some action and didn’t have to stop fishing due to the weather.  I told Jim we’d give it some extra time if the storms were a problem which they weren’t really but I figured we’d give it some extra time anyhow since we had to shift days around and such plus it was starting to look real good and we had the bait.  We tried area where we first started and looked for tarpon.  We stumbled into a pretty big group though the fish were very spread out.  But quite a few rolling, busting, etc…  We set up and tons of little sharks and catfish ate us up.  They’ve definitely been an issue at times but today the catfish especially were thick!  We moved around and then eventually got one more shot at a tarpon but again he threw the hook right away.  After that we motored around to another spot nearby to look if there were any other tarpon around that might be more interested but didn’t see much, so we set back up where we were for the last 20 minutes and gave it a good hard effort but that was it.  Anyways not too bad of a day all things considered.  The tarpon are definitely getting a little more moody it seems this month, not nearly as aggressive as they were in July but that can definitely change any time.  There are still some good groups of fish around and if you put the time in you can still have some success.  I’ll be back at it Thursday!  1 for 4

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