Waterman's Journal

Jun 01, 2017

Pro Team Report: Islamorada Spring Fishing Brings Great Variety

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 1

By PELAGIC Pro Team Capt. Nick Stanczyk

Wind has been our worst enemy the past couple months in Islamorada. It makes going out deep-dropping for swordfish difficult, but we can usually still go to “Plan B” and make something out of the day.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 3 A solid sword for Capt. Nick and his crew.

Last April and May were two of my best months on swordfish, but this April and May have been hit-or-miss. We’ve had to cancel about half of our swordfish trips, and have landed fish half of the trips we made it out on. We did get a really nice fish at 350 lbs in April, and just last week lost another big one thrashing on the surface.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 9 This 350-lber beast highlighted the spring swordfishing.

When it was too windy to swordfish we stayed on the reef a few days and caught plenty of yellowtail snapper for dinner. Shallow water grouper season opened on May 1st so we took advantage of that for a couple days and put some nice black grouper in the box for dinner. We also put a lot of people on some big AJ’s while vertical jigging on the humps and wrecks.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 2 Big AJs make for some of the toughest fights around hence the nickname 'reef donkey'.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 5 First fish for the BROAD MINDED after the May 1st grouper season opener.

Our deepwater bottom complex, which includes blueline tilefish and snowy grouper, also opened on May 1st. These are some of my favorite eating fish and we target them in 450 – 750 ft. of water. We’ve picked away at some yellowedge grouper and a few queen snapper while deep-drop bottom fishing as well.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 4 Snowy grouper are fun to catch and make great tablefare.

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 10 A trio of big deep water queen snapper.

Spring is when the mahi start moving through the Florida Keys in good numbers. This season is off to a better start than last season already. We fished one mahi tournament so far this May and over the two-day event had 14 nice-sized fish up to 29 lbs. We managed to take 3rd place for the heaviest three fish combined weight division and 3rd place largest cow (female mahi). Not a bad showing for a 97-boat event!

Pelagic Gear Nick Stanczyk Report 2017 8 A good size bigeye thresher made a surpise appearance on this trip.

I’m hoping the wind lets up soon and that we have a nice summer so I can put the long days in on the swordfish grounds. We also caught a bigeye thresher shark one trip while swordfishing, so that was certainly a welcomed surprise!

View Capt. Nick Stanczyk’s PELAGIC Pro Team Profile >> Click Here