2024 Tarpon Season Outlook

Here you can read our latest fishing reports.  I try to keep this section updated regularly when we are tarpon fishing consistently.  Though remember in the off season we may not be fishing as much or we may be targeting other things.

April is almost half way through can you believe it!  Well we had a little bit of a slow start in early April with the full moon coinciding with a weak cold front.  But since then it’s been pretty good for me the last several trips.  Lots of fish continuing to show up and both big and small.  If you are looking to catch tarpon the next couple of months should be a good bet – just try and avoid right around that full moon if you can!  I’m also hoping this year our later May/June timeframe will be more productive, as we had a late start with the early season stuff so hopefully that leads to more fish being around at the tail end of ‘prime time.’  Night trips are do-able now with more tarpon being caught locally, so don’t be afraid to ask about evening fishing – my team is ready to get you on the silver king!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
305-747-6903
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing

Third week of April 2024… Tarpon bite was hot!

Well we had a phenomenal week of fishing here in Islamorada for tarpon this past week.  I fished my standard Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on 4/15/24, 4/16/24, and 4/17/24.  Conditions were fairly similar all of those days with moderate east/southeast winds.  We had just had a cool front a few days before at the end of the previous week so temperatures are actually still on the cooler side for what we’ve come to expect for this time of year in recent years.  Though this year it really seems the cooler winter-like weather and late cool fronts have been sticking around through the spring.  Overall this probably isn’t a bad thing for the ecosystem as you hear how much damage the heat of summer can do.  But it can lead to tougher fishing especially if you are here when it’s cooled off when those fish have been happy with it being warm.  Anyways luckily this was several days later and back to more spring like tradewinds and on the warming trend.

So Monday I had Ian and Brook down for a late 50th birthday trip for Ian.  He had never landed a tarpon before but had done plenty of fishing in Jacksonville and elsewhere in Florida for different species.  We had a great day we got leader on 6 fish and I think had another bite or two.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a ‘face grab’ on any of the tarpon.  We had several up boatside but they kept shaking off or going through the leader when it was time to do that.  Which happens and sometimes you feel like you lost your fish at that point but that is just part of the game with tarpon pictures are never a guarantee!  And also one of the reasons I try to get good picture and video of the fight and jumps.  So fishing was a good bit better than I expected as we had kind of a lame falling tide for our fishing window this week.  We had a trickle of incoming in the morning and then it slacked up.  And the falling tide only lasted a couple hours or so before it slacked up again, and then it started racing in again for a good long time well past when we were out.  But we ended up having somewhat of a rally of bites around the start of the falling tide and the start of the rise again, as well as a couple through the slack.  Sometimes in those scenarios the fish really dont feed much during that weak current, but we were able to work through it with some level of productivity.

On Tuesday the tide again was similar but of course an hour or so later, so we had a little more incoming in the morning when we got out.  I had Jared and his dad Marvin down.  Fishing was good to us again and very similar action I think we had around the same number of bites and again 6 landed fish.  We were lucky to get a good fish up for pictures today as well.

Then finally on Wednesday I had Travis, Cathy, and Tommy. Travis was visiting from Texas and it was a bucket list trip to catch a tarpon.  We had a good couple hours of incoming tide to start the day and it was hot and heavy action for the first hour and a half.  We caught 4 tarpon in that window and 3 of those bites came really quick, before I even had a chance to get my second bait out in most cases!  Right away we got one up to the boat for pictures which was awesome.  Things slowed down a little when the tide quit for us.  But when it started to fall we started getting action again and we ended up catching 2 more tarpon and missed or lost 3 others I think.  Just phenomenal fishing that day and such fun people to fish with they were really excited about it.

So overall what a week that was my best week thus far with 18 fish landed!  And as mentioned it was around funky tides so it goes to show you that you never really know what to expect out there.  People are always wanting to know the best time to come and I always say it’s very hard to say… I can give you a good idea a few days out once we know the weather and short term conditions, as well as how the fish are biting.  But knowing a month or more ahead of time it’s very difficult to forecast.  As I always say when booking just try to stay away from that full moon that’s one thing you can easily predict way out and not that it’s always bad but occasionally I notice we have difficult day time fishing right near the full moon.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

Tarpon Fishing in Islamorada the second week of April

Got out for my Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday season trips this week.  Weather was a bit windy overall though Monday started out nice and it started blowing around mid-day mostly out of the East which isn’t a bad direction for where we were fishing.  Tuesday the wind had stayed blowing and slightly more Southeast which made it a tad rougher on the oceanside but not too terrible for the Contender Bay Boat I’m in, and Wednesday was more of the same of that.  Fishing was really good it was about the best I’ve seen it so far this season.  Monday we started out with the tide rolling in and again slightly calmer wind.  It was action from the get-go I had return customer Ken and his son and neighbor.  They got on tarpon from the start and we ended up landing six I think.  A big hammerhead shark got the first one unfortunately.  The bite was strong we ended up having a dozen bites or so at least so that was good to see.  The later morning/afternoon bites were all ‘short’ bites though they kept grabbing baits and spitting them out pretty quick.  Tuesday a little slower but still pretty good I had Greg down from Maine.  Our first 4 stops we ended up hooking three fish and catching all three.  The first one we got to the boat for pictures which was great – sometimes that is a hard feat especially when you are fishing in 20 knot winds and only have one guy on the boat.  The next ones the first we broke off boatside and the other we got leader on several times but eventually he made his way into the bridge and broke off.  After that we had to work at it a bit more the tarpon got a little finicky.  But we kept moving and seemed about every move with a fresh bait out if we were in a pile of fish we could encourage a bite.  But we weren’t able to keep many on the hook after that.  I was joking with Greg how lucky we were to get that first nice fish up boat side like that and how it doesn’t happen that easily all the time… now he knows!  But still a great day I think we had seven bites or so and caught three.  Wednesday it was howling 20+ knots and a little more southeast again.  Definitely about the windiest it’s been for me lately.  But the Contender Bay Boat handled it beautifully.  Fishing was decent but we had to work at it.  We ended up hooking a big one right off the bat for T that we battled for an hour but we did manage to roll over and get great pictures so that was cool.  Then soon after that Bob hooked one we lost in the bridge after a bit.  After that a bit of a dry spell we hopped around and it was difficult with the wind trying to keep the boat in place, but we hooked a couple nurse sharks and then finally after a couple hours and several moves we got another tarpon.  A smaller one for Bob that we got to the boat but right as we were going to grab him a shark got after him so we broke him off but unfortunately he wasn’t able to get away from the shark though he tried his best and we tried to bump the shark away with our boat.  After that we ended up having a few more bites some that we missed and lost another one in the bridge.  So overall productive day with a half dozen bites or so and two landed fish… not bad for a really windy one.

Anyways that’s it for me this week.  Tarpon season is in full swing here in mid April.  Capt. Steve and Capt. Trent have some days here and there, plus those evening trips are often available more short notice.  If the weather is nice and you wanna get after it, give me a shout and we’ll see if we can get you set up!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing
YouTube: Bud n’ Mary’s Marina

4/3/24 April Bridge Fishing for tarpon in Islamorada

Got out with Bruce, Darcy, Asa, and Evan for a day trip of tarpon fishing in Islamorada!  Conditions were pretty good again moderate southwesterly wind actually but it had just enough west in it to make it not too crazy rough.  When it goes due south it’s definitely worse.  I was hopeful as yesterday we had good fishing and sure enough today did not disappoint.  We had to work at it and jump around but very similar day to yesterday… we had a couple little rallies where we got bites fairly quick, and then a few times we sat for nothing for an hour or more.  But we ended up landing 3 and getting a 4th one on the leader we broke off I think and lost a few others.  No shark problems today which was nice.  Good to see some solid fishing and not too much boat traffic where we were, but I’m sure it’ll start getting busier here soon.  I’m off for a few days but will be back at it Monday next week!

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