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!!

Scott

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!!

Scott