9/20/2023 Tarpon in September in the Florida Keys

Got out with Cody and Shelby today for a full day trip.  They were recommended from a client Chris who fished with me a couple years ago and caught some nice tarpon.  The wind had swung a little south and we had a lot of weather offshore in the morning but we ventured out back.  Unfortunately the big massive school of tarpon that was around last week seemed to have disappeared.  But I was out with my dad yesterday snook fishing and we did see a smaller group of tarpon that we didn’t mess with so we ended up finding those guys again.  First thing we got into a little group and Shelby hooked a nice 40 lber that we landed great fish and she did a good job fighting it for not much fishing experience!  After that we jumped around and kept trying to line up on fish but they were spread out and definitely not as easy as they were last week.  Finally after 3 or 4 moves, we sat for a good 20 minutes and sure enough got a bite finally!  Big 100 lber goes airborne!  Cody gets this one and this fish really put on a show with at least a half dozen big jumps, almost jumping in the boat at one point and going under the boat and trolling motor, but Cody did an excellent job backing off the drag and getting the rod tip down in the water to clear the boat, while we picked up the trolling motor so he could get around to the other side.  He knew just what to do as I explained it to him but that is the type of move that a big tarpon can pull on your and break you off sometimess real quick!  After that we tried a bit more but things kinda petered out so we tried some snook fishing, which was a little slow but we did manage a handful and a few small goliath groupers.  Though we did finish up the day with an XL snook to put a nice cherry on top and a couple of medium size goliath groupers and jacks.  The weather built up pretty big from flamingo all the way to key largo after that so we headed in.  But a fantastic day for these two enjoying there honeymoon in the Florida Keys!  We are getting the tarpon or snook mounted through Grays Taxidermy, maybe both of them as they are fish he wants to remember!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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