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12/30/18 End of the year December Islamorada Backcountry Fishing Report

The year is almost over and boy it's been a great one for fishing.  If you've read some of my previous posts the last few months, you'll know fishing has been absolutely nothing less than stellar most days.  We've had insane numbers of redfish in the backcountry, more than I've ever seen and just about every guide you talk to will tell you it's better than it has ever been!  It's really provided us with a great 'safety net' on those rare days when fishing had been a little slow, you can almost pop in and catch a couple dozen of them!  Snook fishing has been pretty good as well, though to be honest it's sometimes hard to get through the redfish to catch them in some areas!  Black drum have been in and out, it was better a few weeks ago when it was a bit colder, though it's been warm for the last couple weeks so they've thinned out.

We had a crazy hard blow a little over a week ago where it cranked 40+ mph, and up until yesterday it was still blowing 20-25 just about every day.  I myself was out of town, but I know many guides were still having good fishing believe it or not!  I got back in town two days ago and it was cranking, but we still caught probably 3 dozen redfish, a bunch of trout, and some mangrove snappers for dinner.  Yesterday the winds laid out and the water was pretty muddy in quite a few areas from all the blowing.  But we worked around and got on another crazy redfish bite, and a lot of snook too getting about 15 or so in one spot.  We found a couple nice black drums in some deeper hard bottom later in the day, and then went out in the gulf.  My anglers were rewarded with their largest fish ever, a couple of ~40ish lb cobias!  Great catches all on light tackle too 20 lb braid and 30 lb mono leader.  They both took about 30 minutes to catch and land in our net.  I was nice and even let these fish go as I don't like to kill stuff unless I have to and my anglers weren't going to need it.  We also had a 30 lb permit swim up behind one of the cobias but unfortunately weren't able to get a bait to him during the craziness.

I have some availability after New Years starting the 1st week of January, and then a whole week open starting Jan 12th.  January is one of my favorite times of year to fish here... we get a lot of cold weather and that really turns on the big snook, black drum, and larger redfish.  Sometimes you get lucky and catch it right and you catch those monster fish - the ones 15+ lb snook and 25 lb+ black drums!  It's one of the only times they consistently show up.  So if you are thinking of coming down to fish, it's a great time and you can beat the crowds that are here now between xmas and new years.

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

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