Fishing Florida Keys – May 2017 – Day 4

Day 4 – Fishing Islamorada and our “official” Tarpon Challenge day – Sponsored by Cowans Sporting.

What a glorious morning. The sun is shining, already in the 70’s, very little wind. Perfect.

Today we are fishing with Capt. Jeff Beeler out of Bud n Marys Marina. Given the recent poor weather and results out of Islamorada, Jeff called the shot from the off and made the decision to go 40 miles off shore to the back country, just off the Everglades coastline. Great call !! We were into fish from the off.

We were targeting tarpon, but also looking for sharks. Jeff suggested using a mono leader rather than steel wire, as this would not deter the tarpon as much, however, the trade off was that we should expect to lose more sharks on the bite off. Go for it ! This is a tarpon day after all.

Craigo got the ball rolling with a nice black tip shark and Nicky soon followed suit. I then had our first tarpon of the trip, not a biggy, around 50/60Ib and released in the water at the boat, but nice to get off the mark and start the leader board.

More sharks followed up to around 80Ib and then I had another tarpon off around the same size … opening up a gap at the top !!!

Still more sharks came, ranging from around 30 to 100Ib, with a fair few snap offs and some very big fish lost along the way due to using the mono leader. 

With only fifteen minutes to go Craigo hooks into something big. This is very soon confirmed when a large bar of silver goes airborne for the first time. Jeff quickly releases the boat from it’s anchor and we are in pursuit. As Craig struggles to get control, the tarpon has other ideas and strips the line from his reel with ease. Run after run and jump after jump, it is 10 minutes before Craig has it under any sort of control. Finally, 20 minutes after hook up, and 1/2 mile from the original place it was hooked up, the fish is at the boat and safely released in the water. Estimated at around 125lb.


So, on the day, the “official” tarpon day, I was smashed size wise, with Craigo’s being more than both mine put together, but the challenge was a numbers game, not the biggest…… WINNER!!!!

Best day of the trip with non stop action. I lost count on the number of sharks we caught, but it must have been at least 30 or more and a few very big fish lost.

Jeff was a great skipper. He knew what we wanted and he provided. Very knowledgeable, very helpful and good company. A big thanks to him.

Next stop Miami on the way home and a few beers on Ocean Drive!


For those interested, I am thinking of organising and hosting one or two trips to Islamorada next year in April / May. Ideally, 6 or 8 people would make it perfect and keep the costs down, fishing 2 people to a boat in shore and back country and 3 or 4 when fishing off shore. The estimated cost at this point is around £3k per person, ALL IN (inc food and drink – subject to your preferences, of course) If anyone is interested, please let me know ASAP and I will get the ball rolling.


Tight lines