10/21/18 October Tarpon Florida Keys Fishing Report

Had Andrew, Jim, and Jay out again for Day 2.  They fished with me Friday and we had a good mixed bag day with snook, redfish, and finished the day with a small tarpon.  Today we focused on bigger tarpon.  Originally the forecast looked great it was suppose to be flat calm, however these weak cold fronts they never know what they’ll do, so it ended up being a little windy not too crazy but a solid 15 mph out of the north mostly.  My buddy gave me some bait yesterday afternoon so I felt confident that we’d have something at least, as the bait for big tarpon has been a little hit and miss as of late.  Of course we had no problem catching it after checking a few spots, but always nice to have that safety net to have a few left overs.  We loaded the bait well and then looked for tarpon.  Luckily for us they were right near where we caught our bait!  We had the last hour of falling tide and boy the water was super muddy from the wind a few days ago, also had a weird yellow tinge maybe algae related.  Tarpon were rolling and splashing around, I thought for sure it’d be red hot.  But we sat and never had a bite on the falling tide.  Waited for the tide to come in and moved around a bit, saw some more tarpon but still no response.  Made one more move and had them rolling there too, nothing!  The sharks did keep us busy though some lemons and blacktips.  It was hard to leave as every time I wanted to, another tarpon would roll right on top of our baits and we’d sit for a bit longer.  Must’ve happened at least a dozen times.  No bites though…. some days they do that, today really didn’t look like it was gonna be one of those days but they just weren’t into it.  We finally left and tried another area.  Saw a few splashed and a tarpon roll.  We set up and had another shark bite, then moved and after that we got lucky.  Jay hooked a big monster 120 lb tarpon that we fought and got on the leader in about 10 minutes!  A few good jumps to put on a show.  We leadered the fish but unfortunately with the tide into the wind, she made one good kick under the boat and cut off before we could get her to lay up for pictures.  So it goes with those big tarpon especially but we had her leader in hand for a legal catch.  We tried another channel after that, looked around hard but never for sure saw any tarpon there.  We blind fished and did catch a few more sharks.  Anyways a hard days work we definitely gave it 110% effort and were in fish most of the day, but sometimes you just can’t make them bite ravenously.  Good to still see such big groups of tarpon around though, it could still be worthwhile as long as the water temps stay in that 80 degree range.  Might have to work at it, but it’s doable.  Anyways I’m off the next couple days, then charters mid week again on Thursday… Another weak cold front coming in Friday, so wind may get funky on us but the calm before the storm could be good fishing!  Wednesday I’m available if anyone wants to go, it looks like it’ll be a nice day!  1 for 1

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