3/30/24 Late March Tarpon Update

March is almost over and we’ve been in ‘tarpon’ mode here for about a month or so now.  The last week the tarpon fishing got a little tougher after some good fishing earlier this month.  We had the full moon here earlier in the week which also coincided with a late ‘cool’ front and some heavy winds.  Tuesday and Wednesday I fished and it was a bit of a struggle.  We had bait that we caught over the previous weekend for our Tuesday trip.  Derek fished with me in hopes of landing his first tarpon and we had howling south/southeast winds that day 20 knots.  We found a lot of fish down at the bridges but they weren’t too cooperative for us unfortunately.  We grinded at it for a couple hours before finally hooking a fish, which we fought for a few minutes but it got us into the bridge.  We ended up sticking it out there because we continued seeing a good amount of tarpon but just no more action out of them, though we did catch some big jacks, bluefish, and nurse sharks.  The next day (Wednesday) i got out with return customer Ashley and his family.  We decided to go check out the backcountry because the wind had laid off slightly and I was hoping there would still have been some fish back there.  Nobody had been back there recently due to all the wind.  We didn’t see much for tarpon back there though but we did catch a cool tiger shark right off the bat along with a big blacktip shark.  Then we grinded for tarpon but we didn’t really see much nor did we mark much back there – really seemed like the major body of them had moved on.  That usually happens sometime in early April but with the mentioned full moon and weather maybe they’re done with early this year back there.  Anyways we decided to book it back to Islamorada and try some other bridges and sure enough there was a decent body of tarpon around there and the wind laid out pretty nice.  It looked pretty with nice water and sure enough our first stop we hooked a nice 40 lb tarpon that we got the leader on quickly, however a 300 lb bullshark came up and tried to snatch it and we had to break it off to give it a chance to escape!  After that I thought we’d get another bite but again the tarpon seemed to not be too happy.  Those are the only two days I fished last week but Capt. Steve has been out the last couple of days, and I know they said they had a tarpon on each day of the last two days – losing one and catching one.  They also did some rod bending with some trout, snappers, and got a nice snook around the bridges while baitfishing.  Capt. Stephen did say the bait was getting easier as that seemed really tough around that full moon earlier in the week too, so that’s a good sign.  And I expect the tarpon bite will get better too – I always tell people booking in advance try to avoid right around the full moon if possible as that often seems to be a tough time with the daytime fishing.  Though of course sometimes that’s just when you are here and can go so we always try our best regardless.  I’ll be back to fishing this week and the team has some days open through the next couple of months.  If you want to get out give me a shout!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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