6/8/2023 June Summer time Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing Report

So I got out with good return customers Jon & Jan this last week for a couple of days, Tuesday & Wednesday (yesterday and the day before).  On Tuesday we focused mostly on tarpon.  Bait was fairly easy to catch in the morning and we had a fair amount from a few days before so we loaded up with some extras.  We ran out into the backcountry where  I had been finding fish the last few trips.  Sure enough there were still a good group of fish out there, but unfortunately there was a fly fishing tournament going on and there were several boats on them first thing early in the morning.  We got lucky and set up a fair distance back and got one tarpon right away.  But as the day progressed the fish were moving with the tide and then more boats showed up so we had 5 or 6 guys trying to fly fish the group of fish.  Unfortunately for us bait fisherman it’s bad ettiquette to run in there in the midst of that.  Although there we of course fish in a fairly big area, the real concentration you wanted to get in was not all that big plus the little sharks were very bad if you got in the wrong spot, and with the fly guys around you can’t get within a football field of them or cut them off so we tried to be polite and not enroach to close which we did.  But we only ended up with that 1 bite and by 10:00 or so it seemed kinda over with and everyone left.  We tried a few spots of big snook and another area for tarpon but no luck.  But still a nice tarpon on the day and a big lemon shark and hammerhead shark, plus plenty of black tips.  I’m pretty sure we could’ve had more action if we could’ve fished where wanted but that’s not always the case.

Yesterday we had a total swing around in the wind direction, it went from northeasterly to southwesterly.  Luckily we loaded up with extra bait the day before because with the wind switch, the bait was gone today!  That’s why we often catch bait back there even when we don’t necessarily ‘need’ it for the day, because you never know when you aren’t gonna find it!  With the wind that direction, the fly fisherman were not in the same area as it gets a little rough and they don’t see the fish on the surface as much when you get those rolling waves.  Though fishing was not all that great we never had a tarpon bite early we did mark a few good schools of fish and got set up in good position but no love just sharks.  We gave it an hour and a half or so and then switched gears and went snook fishing.  Snook fishing was really good and all we had for bait was small shrimp and a few pinfish, so we didn’t need to catch special bait but we still ended up with close to 20 snook, and had a nice redfish that got eaten by a shark, and had a few baby tarpon eat the shrimp as well that we jumped off.

So that’s hopefully a good sign and one of the nice things about backcountry fishing sometimes there are good options if the tarpon don’t cooperate.  But as mentioned previously there has been a fair amount of bait around and tarpon around for the time of year it is back there and July may yield some good fishing for us it’s often a good month but you don’t know until it gets hear.  But I’ll be taking some trips in July more short notice so if you plan on being in the area drop me a line!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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