1/23/18 Black drum Fishing in January in Key Largo

Got out today with Joe and Harold down from the chilly northeast to enjoy some florida sunshine!  It was a nice flat calm day in key largo perfect for fishing.  I knew we had similar conditions to yesterday and thought we might have a shot at a repeat if we played our cards right.  The boys were down to try so we headed out into the key largo backcountry early.  We got on a good bite of black drums early on, nice size fish in the 8 to 12 lb range.  Jigs with shrimp did the trick with the colder water temperatures.  Joe even got a 15 lber later in the day, not one of those ‘big nasty’ monsters but respectable and a fighter!  We were also lucky enough to get some good shots at some monster snook!  We caught a nice one for Joe in the first area.  Harold had one on for a few minutes that zipped out 30 yards of line and got us around some structure!  We chased him down and got around the structure, I thought we’d land the fish but he went through the leader!  Oh no!  We looked for triple tails for a bit without much luck and then we found some more snook and drum in another area.  We landed another half dozen beautiful big snook and about 8 more drum.  It was just a magical day of winter time fishing in key largo.  Harold and Joe will remember this day for a long time to come I’m sure, as will I.  We really dream about days like these as guides and wish they were all like this, but then I guess you wouldn’t appreciate them as much.

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

1/22/18 Snook fishing in Key Largo in January

Got out for a full day january fishing charter in key largo with Gwen and Jim, two of my regulars down from Nebraska.  It was fairly calm with a light northeast breeze, the air warming up again but the water still chilly in the low 60s in the bay to start in the morning.  It looked like prime conditions for some ‘big snook’ spots out in the western end of the everglades.  We made the run back there and were rewarded with just an epic morning of snook fishing.  It wasn’t about numbers today, no, it was all about big fish in key largo.  The first one zipped out 30 yards of line when we hooked her, and cut us off on some structure.  First bait in the water, but I had a feeling their would be more.  We ended up catching 6 fish, one 12 lbs, the rest 15-20 lbs, and one that was probably close to 25 lbs!  Likely the biggest snook I’ve had landed in my boat, very impressive!  We also caught over a dozen black drums, nothing super huge but a few 15 lbers and under.  We had a big redfish on too that was probably 35 lbs, but we pulled the hook on him after a 10 minute battle – the hook actually opened up on us, sometimes this happens if the hook doesn’t penetrate entirely through their mouth.  All the pressure is on the point of the hook and it can give way after some time.  But we got a good look at the fish at least.  After that we tried some other spots and caught some more snook and drum, but smaller fish (more the norm!).  Still nice ones though in the 4 to 8 lb range.  We headed back towards key largo after that.  It was a great day on the water, and one of those days as a guide that you dream about and get to live every so often!

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

1/20/18 January key largo tarpon fishing report

Got out for a 3/4 day with Ray and his son Jeff down from Maryland for a January key largo fishing charter.  The weather had warmed up some from the cold front but the water was still pretty cold out back in the high 50 degree range.  Chilly ride but not near as bad as the past couple days before.  It was very busy out there with 20 or so boats fishing the area where we were… Luckily we were able to get on the spot I wanted too!  Not a red hot bite, but when it gets that cold in key largo bait fishing is your best bet but can take some patience.  Eventually we hooked a nice 12 lb snook that Jeff landed, woohoo!  After that it was quiet again for a little bit, then Ray got a nice snook of near the same size.  It never got red hot, but every 5 or 10 minutes we’d get a good bite, and all the fish were quality size!  Eventually a few black drums came into the mix and we caught a couple, Ray got a small tarpon later which was very cool.  Tarpon in january in Key Largo are rare, they just don’t like the typical cold weather we have and a cold front makes that even more likely.  But it happened!  I had my fingers crossed Ray would get a redfish at some point to complete his backcountry SLAM and sure enough one of the last fish he caught was a red drum.  Awesome!  We caught a few more snook and a sheesphead after that.  The last hour things slowed down considerably we didn’t catch much and there were too many boats to try and jump around anywhere, but we had a stellar day catching what we did.  I think we had around a dozne snook, mostly all 10-15 lbs, a couple drum, a redfish, a tarpon, and a sheepshead.  I told the guys catching one or two snook like that in a day, you’ve already had a great day, and they agreed.  The ride home was nice and the wind had laid down even more.  This coming week I’m very busy and then out of town next sunday for a week to go skiing.  I’ll be back for some key largo February fishing charters after that, I have days open during that month if you are looking to go fishing!

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

1/19/18 January Snook and Drum Fishing in Key Largo

Got out with Peter who flew in from Seattle with his son Sam, and their buddy Bill who lived in Ft. Lauderdale. We had some major cold weather come in a few nights ago in the key largo area.  It dropped down into the high 40s the other morning, so it was about as chilly as it gets here!  The boys wanted to try some fishing in the everglades so we headed back that way.  We only had a 3/4 day which is enough time to get back there and fish, but when fishing is a little tougher sometimes it’s hard as you don’t have enough time to move too much or wait for a different tide etc…  The water temps were down in the low 50s so it was pretty chilly.  When we are fishing in key largo and that happens, shrimp are the go-to bait of choice.  We found a few black drum, a nice redfish, a snook, and a sheesphead in the first area.  We had to fish it for a little while not a red hot bite, but we picked away there.  Later on we moved and tried a bigger area.  Unfortunately there was a lot of boats there but I knew several of the key largo captains.  We caught a black drum where we first stopped, but not much else.  We were able to squeeze in around a couple of them in tight quarters later.  We picked a few more snook here, including a nice 10 lb fish that really made the day!  After that it was about time to head home, but we had a decent day catching a little over a dozen fish… not red hot but quality of quantity, and for as busy as it was i’ll take it!  Back at it tomorrow on another 3/4 day, then sunday I have open if anyone wants to go.  Next week is all booked up then I am going on vacation myself and will be back in early February!

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

1/9/2018 Key Largo Inshore Fishing in January

Got out for a fun trip today with my wife Elizabeth for a little fun day of key largo inshore fishing.  It was slick calm though overcast as it was forecast to rain.  We didn’t get wet though really just a sprinkle at the end of the day.  The water temperatures were still low from the recent cold front we had over the past weekend, still a chilly 61 degrees or so.  But they were down to as cold as 52 in some areas of the bay!  We fished some areas I hadn’t been in a while to try some stuff out and get out of my same routine.  Unfortunately most of that didn’t work out very well!  We did catch a couple black drum and a couple trout in some areas, but that was all.  Worked a good shoreline with the trolling motor for a while with only a drum there to show for it.  A few creek mouths that looked great were surprisingly not holding any fish.  But we did get on a spot at the end of the day that was holding heavy and is a fairly well known ‘winter time’ spot.  We ended up getting on a great bite of black drum, with a few redfish, a snook, some trout, and a sheepshead mixed in there.  Was just incredible fishing and made up for the rest of the day!  Some times you get on these spots in the key largo backwater fishing and it just makes your whole trip.  Anyways after that we headed home.  I don’t have much on the books this week but next week is already all booked up, so if you want to get out fishing this week give me a shout I have days open.  The weather looks great light winds, should be real nice out!

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

1/7/18 January Key Largo Fishing Charter in the Everglades

Brrr it was a freezing cold day here in Key Largo Florida.  Temperatures dipped down around 50 for 3 nights in a row, which meant it was around 40 in the backcountry everglades areas!  That is pretty cold for us, and especially when making a 30+mile run into 20 mph winds first thing in the morning.  But we get it done and you just have to bundle up.  Once we get back around the mainland areas, it’s much nicer as you get out of the wind and are in protected water, and the sun comes up and you start to thaw out!  I had Jody and Tom down from St Louis and luckily for us the fish were biting a little bit even though the water temperatures were down around 52 to 54 degrees!  That’s the coldest we’ve seen in years, likely since the cold snap of 2010.  When the water is cold like this, usually your best bet is just soaking live shrimp on the bottom.  We let it lay and just twitch it slightly every so often.  The drum bites can be very subtle, so when you feel a little nibbling, give them a few seconds and reel a little bit – if you feel the weight of the fish set the hook and if not, just continue letting it lay and try again when you feel the nibble.  We didn’t have red hot action, but a slow steady pick all day long really which I’ll take.  It was a Saturday too so we had about 20 other boats in the area to compete with throughout the day.  Sometimes you know where to go to catch fish, but it’s hard to squeeze in where you want to go when so many other boats are trying to get there too.  We caught probably 8 black drums, 7 redfish, a sheepshead, and a trout.  A good day of key largo fishing in January no doubt!  No snook for us though I know a few boats had good snook fishing, but they seemed to be stacked up in a couple areas.  We slid in there at the end of the day but at that point they were sore lipped and didn’t bite for us.  Oh well we had good action otherwise thankfully.  I have plenty of availability this coming week, then next week I am booked every day!  But this week should be incredible fishing we will be back on a warming trend, and once those water temps rise back up around 60 I think the fishing will really go off back there.  It will also be during the week so much less boat traffic.  If you are interested in going let me know, prime conditions starting Monday I believe.

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

1/2/18 January Key Largo Full Day Backcountry Fishing Trip

Got out with Vince and Steven again who fished with me a few days ago, along with Vince’s son Lucas.  The key largo fishing forecast looked a lot worse then the day was, which happens fairly often here believe it or not.  A very fishable day even though it was a little chilly but the wind didn’t get crazy like they said.  It didn’t rain hard either just a light drizzle for about 20 minutes while we fished.  We hit the backcountry with them and fished in the everglades.  The water temperatures have cooled off since the last mild front, but not gotten super cold which can drive the fish into a feeding frenzy in the ‘winter time spots.’  The day started a little slow we got one snook in key largo in the first 30 minutes or so, that was it.  We moved spots and then caught a black drum, then a little later a redfish, then a black drum… so we were picking away slowly.  As the tide was nearing the end of it’s fall, the bite turned on!  We ended up getting on to a good bite of more black drum, and about 4 or 5 snook.  In about an hour we caught a dozen or so more drums.  That definitely made the day, though it’s nice when you can space that fishing out across the entire day, it doesn’t always work like that!  After the bite died we moved around and tried another half dozen spots.  But not much else happening, we caught one more snook in one of those spots and that was it!  I talked to a few other people who had very tough days as well, so I felt good we were able to catch a good amount of fish.  Nothing super huge, but I’ll take the numbers most days to keep my customers busy catching… unless of course they are hunting for that one ‘big one.’  After that we headed on home, I think it did get a little nastier later in the afternoon but luckily after we were at the dock.  Looks like later this week it’s suppose to get super cold, down into the high 40s which means low 40s possibly 30s back in the everglades areas.  It won’t last long though just a few nights.  This will definitely fire up the winter time cold water bite, but tough to say if it’ll happen during the front or after it passes.  This one sounds so severe the fish might go lock jaw until things warm slightly, which could be later in the day on the next few days, or perhaps even after the entire front passes and we get back on a warming trend.  You can never really know, unless you go!  I’ll be going out tomorrow and saturday for sure.  Sunday I am open and plenty of days next week, and that should be good fishing as we will be on that warming trend!

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

12/31/17 Key Largo Fishing Post Cold Front December

Got out with Adam and Marc today for a full day of key largo december fishing.  Things cooled down with a mild front but it’s suppose to get even colder in a few days, down into the low 50s here… the real deal cold!  Today the bite wasn’t super hot out back, as it didn’t get quite cold enough I don’t think to really fire off the ‘winter time’ holes for snook, drum, etc… plus there was a bit of algae looking water.  Though we managed a few nice fish including a 20 lb black drum and a few snook.  Adam was designated angler so he got to catch them all, for one person not bad.  After we hit enough of those areas, we tried some open water stuff.  I had a little spot I’d been catching a few redfish once in a while.  We tried that but didn’t have any luck today.  So we ventured further into the gulf of mexico to do a little spanish mackerel fishing.  That can be a day saver this time of year, it’s usually easy living in the right area.  Just hang your chum bag and cast shrimp on jigs.  It was good and we caught probably 10 or so macks, a few bluefish, and 10 blue runners.  Great action for the last hour of the day.  We kept a few mackerel for dinner for the guys and then headed back towards home.  Looks like it may rain a little on tuesday/wednesday, not looking forward to that.  Rain and cold isn’t a good combo!  But fishing should get very good with the cool off especially by late next week I believe.  I have days available after Wednesday so look me up!  Everyone be safe and have a happy new year.

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

12/27/17 Key Largo Full Day backcountry fishing in December

Got out with Rich and Luke Cromwell today for a full day of fishing in Key Largo.  We hit the backcountry first and caught a few snook to start the day.  They weren’t all over the place we had to check a few spots but did get on a little bite for a bit.  Had one nice fish of 10+ lbs or so to the boat but before we could net him he cut the line with his sharp gill plate!  After that we caught quite a few trout with some jacks mixed in, didn’t find any more snook which is what we were hoping for.  We decided to then try the gulf as the weather was calm and it looked nice out there.  Plenty of triple tail were floating on the crab buoys.  Key largo triple tail fishing can be good this time of year and in the spring, but it’s much nicer when you have calm days to run and look.  We caught several little guys and eventually got a keeper.  Then we found a monster that was close to 15 lbs!  We hooked him and had him boat side, but unfortunately the hook pulled on him.  Bad luck!  We shook it off and then we gave some tarpon fishing a try.  We found plenty of tarpon where they had been several days ago.  They weren’t really biting yesterday though as we had a mini-cold front over xmas and they just don’t like that this time of year especially.  Today though we worked hard and eventually fooled one and Luke caught a nice 90 lb tarpon!  December key largo tarpon fishing can be very hit or miss, but today was a hit thankfully.  We also got about a 20 lb cobia which was a cherry on top of the day.  After that we tried one other area with our light rods to possibly find a snook or redfish, but no luck and we headed home.  Just a great day with all kinds of variety!  Hopefully the good fishing holds up through the years end.

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

12/21/17 + 12/22/17 December Tarpon Fishing in Key Largo

Well with the warm calm weather we’ve had the water temperatures in key largo got up to the high 70s which is good recipe for some winter time tarpon fishing!  Tarpon showed up in droves out from the gulf and we had caught a big one yesterday and two big ones today!  Fish in the 90 lb range, 100 lb range, and even up to 150 lbs today.  It was incredible and not something you get to see every day this time of year but with the unusually warm weather anything can happen.  We also caught several big sawfish yesterday and got one today too, plus some blacktip sharks.  It was like Jurassic park out there!  Also the spanish mackerel fishing in the gulf has been great and almost a sure a bet as you can have for fishing.  Plenty of good action for novice and experienced anglers, plus they make great bait for bigger stuff.  Yesterday we found some triple tails and caught a couple of them, didn’t see a ton but just a handful.  Today we didn’t do that but we did finish the day with some redfish, snook, and big mangrove snappers!  December fishing in Key largo really doesn’t get much better than this.  Christmas week coming up here is very busy for me, but I still have the 26th open, or a morning half day trip open tomorrow if anyone wants to go.  I have bait put away and know where some tarpon are so tomorrow morning could be pretty good….  Otherwise check with me for dates next year I have plenty of openings and fishing has been great the last couple months as you can see!

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