Port Canaveral Fishing Reports

March 2014 Port Canaveral Fishing Report

Well, it’s March, which means it’s time to march out and start looking for cobia. But, before you get all Christ4-hotter-cobiasmas Eve, kid in a candy store excited I should tell you that the run has started and so far, it’s nothing to write home about. I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, it hasn’t been all bad. There have some some pretty decent catches and a few pretty nice fish caught too. There just hasn’t been a whole bunch of consistency. One day there’s a whole bunch of rays and very few fish. Next day, there’s only a few rays but more fish per ray. Day after that, there’s no rays and a few free-swimmers. You get my drift??

If I had to guess, the cobia fishing will likely remain sporadic into March. The water inshore has remained on the warm side as is the water offshore. With the temperatures higher than normal, there’s no temperature gradient making the cobia highway. In years past, there’s been a pathway of water in the 67-70 degree range that was generally not that wide. This meant that the migrating fish were funneled into a narrow highway of water. This year the temp differential is negligible, causing the fish to be more widely scattered out.

If you do decide to go looking for cobia, be prepared to spend some time and cover a bit of ocean. The first thing to look for is where the water reaches 68 degrees. If there’s no defined temperature break or weed edge, the next thing I tend to look for is the bait. Without an edge, the rays will sometimes gravitate to the areas holding sardines, greenies or pogies.  From there, it’s going to be a matter of spending the time and fuel to find the fish. As far as bait goes, most people will cast a variety of jigs tipped with squid. Also, keep a few good live baits ready for those fish who turn their nose up to the jigs.

The higher than normal temperatures negatively affecting the cobia fishing can be a blessing for those interested in dolphin. Although February is a little early in the year, there were signs of an early dolphin run. Although, much like the cobia, the phins were somewhat sporadic. Nevertheless, there were some pretty decent catches.

If last month is any indication, March could be a continuation of the early dolphin run. Also like the cobia, the dolphin fishing may rely on a current edge, temperature break or weedline. If you can find one or a combination of the aforementioned you will probably find some dolphin. Ballyhoo and ballyhoo/lure combos will be the bait of choice, but strip baits could work well if the smaller schoolies show up.

The only kingfish action in February was north of us off Daytona or south of us out of Sebastian. With a little luck, we will see springtime run and some fish will show up. Otherwise, the live bait fishing could remain slow all month.

If you want to go bottom fishing, the amberjack should be a pretty good bet. Last month, they were biting good and they should continue into the next couple months as they congregate to spawn. Big live baits will be the best bait, but jigs may work if there’s not too many barracuda.

So, March on out there and make something happen..

See ya on he pond!!


January 2014 Port Canaveral Fishing Report

I’m not sure if the movie makes the holiday or the holiday makes the movie, but it’s one of my favorite movies. If you’re thinking Valentines Day, you are reading the wrong column… If you were thinking Groundhog Day, you could be in the right place, or not, we’ll see. Much like the Shawshank Redemption, I can’t pass up Groundhog Day when I see it on the cable guide. I think it’s my feelings of empathy for Bill Murray’s situation that make the movie so entertaining to me. The movie and the holiday seem like the perfect way to end January and begin February.. The only difference between the movie and reality is that I see no end in sight for my personal Groundhog Day…

January was all about the kingfishing. Day in, day out, live baiting on the reefs was the daily grind. Unfortunately, my report has to revolve solely around this topic, because the charter fleet as a whole followed this protocol all month long. Anything else would be speculation using antiquated data and conjecture, kinda like the decision making process of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.jack-crevalle-charter

The beauty of the live bait fishing last month was the variety of fish other than kingfish that were on the reef. In addition to kingfish, there were an unusually large amount of sailfish. Some days, individual boats had multiple hookups and there were days that boats had more than half a dozen shots each. Also, there were a pretty fair amount of blackfin tuna,an occasional mahi and scattered cobia mixed in too.

The other bonus was the size of the kingfish. Last month, there were more large kings caught than I can remember. There was a large amount of fish weighed in over 50 lbs and a couple fish pushing the 60 mark. It was kind of odd though, the schools of fish seemingly got mixed up. You could hook three fish at one time and one would be 40 lbs, one would be 15lbs and another would be 5lbs. It’s common this time of year to catch kings of all sizes, but not usually in the same schools. Birds of a feather and all that..

With any luck, the start of February and a groundhog dinner will not be the end of the repetition. Hopefully the fishing on the reefs will continue through the month. The biggest concern will probably be the water temperature and clarity. If the water gets too far below 70 degrees, it could send the fish further south.

Provided the temps and clarity remain favorable, the next problem will be finding live bait. It was tough last month and will probably not get any better in February. There were some threadfins and a few pogies scattered around the bight and there were some sardines and cigar minnows on the wrecks to the north, but many days it wasn’t easy.

With the temp and bait problems solved, you could see some of the best fishing of the year. High flying kingfish bites are probably one of the best strikes you will see behind your boat. Also the shot at a tail walking sailfish is a pretty darn good bet. In addition to those visually appealing battles, you can also expect a shot at a blackfin tuna, dolphin, cobia or maybe even a big wahoo.

If you have a hankering to troll ballyhoo, you could do well. Your biggest concern may be the number of ballyhoo that get bit short by the kings.

If you wanna go bottom fishing, you may as well jus hit yourself on the big toe with a hammer… Unless you enjoy releasing a ton gag grouper and red snapper just to catch an amberjack, seabass or triggerfish you can keep.

Either way, pick a bluebird day after a front, bundle up and get out there. There’s no place hotter in Florida right now, than the reef!

See ya on the pond!!


December 2013 Port Canaveral Fishing Report

Well… The mistletoe is down and the ball has dropped.. By now we’ve all had a chance to break our New Year’s resolution. Personally, I made it a near-record twenty-three and a half hours. Oh well, maybe I can lose those extra pounds next year. I really don’t know why I try to lose weight anyway, it’s never really lost, more like misplaced for a short time, like truck keys. It is, however, comforting to know that some things never change.

Speaking of change, the changing of the calendar brings with it the closure of grouper season for the next four months. Which only makes sense, since grouper are migratory and spend the winter months  off Florida’s east coast. Have I mentioned yet this year how much I dislike the National Marine Fisheries Service and the South Atlantic Council? I take no comfort in the fact that their stupidity remains perpetually unchanged. If common sense were currency, they couldn’t afford to buy a cup of coffee.

Since bottom fishing is pretty much limited to amberjack and the fact I’m rather perturbed with the closure, I’m going to skip that part of this dissertation. With bottom fishing off the table, the kingfish will take center stage this month. Last month the kingfishing really heated up and if conditions remain good, the bite should continue through January. The fish should be on many of the inshore reefs from Cris Benson down through Pelican Flats. Once you locate the kings, slow trolled frozen cigar minnows should be all you need to catch an easy limit. Mixed in with the kings, there should be some cobia, blackfin tuna, bonito and a possible wahoo or sailfish.

If trolling is your gig, January can be pretty good month for you. There should still be a few dolphin around and there’s also a very good chance at a sailfish or wahoo. Also, you may have a shot at a blackfin tuna on the troll. Naked ballyhoo and ballyhoo/lure combos should both be in the spread, but you may want to use wire rigs on everything due to the increased chance of a wahoo bite. Definitely put a dark lure with a ballyhoo on the downrigger.

Even though the bottom fishing is out, there’s still plenty of opportunities out there. So, do your best to get out there and celebrate the new year properly… by catching a good one!

See ya on the pond!!


November 2013 Port Canaveral Fishing Report

Fish-RelentlessIINot really sure what to say about November… Some people have been calling it Mo-vember and letting their scruff grow for men’s health awareness. If you’re an avid offshore fisherman, you might want to call it Blow-vember, mainly because the wind blew so hard and often, there were very few fishable days. If I had to guess, The National Marine Fisheries Service has probably colluded with The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to engineer the weather conditions so we couldn’t fish. It sounds a bit conspiracy theoryish, but that’s my two cents. Whatever the case, I’m ready to shave this beard and get back to fishing!!

As I mentioned earlier, there were very few fishable days last month. So, I am going to have to use antiquated information and conjecture, kinda like the NMFS and SAFMC when they do fish stock assessments and setting of quotas. All seriousness aside, the ocean was a wreck for a majority of the month. From the few first and second-hand reports that made it to my ear, the fishing actually sounded pretty good despite the conditions. Considering than I am writing this report on Monday before Thanksgiving and the forecast is twenty-plus knot winds for the next five days, we better all say an extra special grace before the Thursday feast!

Should the weather return to a reasonable normal in December, we should look forward to some pretty darn good fishing. By the time the ocean calm down, I would expect the grouper bite to start really heating up. The fish could be in as close as the inshore reefs and wreck and should be scattered on out to the deeper areas. They will eat a variety of live and dead bait, but you may have trouble with the red snapper if you fish with dead bait or smaller live bait. In the deeper waters, there should also be a few amberjack mixed in with the grouper and snapper.

With some calmer and cleaner water inshore, the kingfish could be another fish that gets fired up this month. When the fish show up, slow trolled spinning minnows should be all that’s needed to catch a quick limit. If live bait is available, the action could be absolutely crazy. In addition the kings, there should be a few blackfin tuna, cobia, bonito and an occasional wahoo or sail.

As far as trolling goes, there were some dolphin and sailfish caught on the few fishable days last month. For December, I would look for the trolling to continue to be decent as long as the water clarity is good and the temperature doesn’t drop too much. The edge of the Gulf Stream will likely be the place to put out the spread, but any weedline or current edge/color change could do the trick too.

One thing is for sure.. After Blow-vember, I will be taking every December opportunity to get out there and catch something!! Before cabin fever sets in.. Hope you do the same!

See ya on the pond!!