1.8.2018 – 1.14.2018
A CENTRAL FLORIDA FISHING FORECAST EVERY TUESDAY
Big black drum are biting in the lagoon, like this one caught on a trip with Capt. Jim Ross.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 2525
It’s not yet 2525, but if the first week of 2019 is any indication of a larger trend moving forward, this may be a banner year in its own right because Space Coast anglers are kicking off the New Year with a BANG! It seems everybody has been out fishing this past week, and a whole lot of them just crushed it on the water. Be it in the surf, lagoons, nearshore or offshore, there’s a ton of catching going on — and Spacefish has a boat load of reports to let you know all about it!
IN THIS WEEK’S REPORT…
SPACE B.O.I. FORECAST
- Mangrove, Lane & Mutton Snapper
- Black Drum
- Spotted Seatrout
- Spanish Mackerel
WEATHER OVERVIEW: Between today and next week’s forecast you can expect the wind and temperatures to be all over the place, which is very typical for this time of year. Today will be really nice. However, Wednesday we have our next cold front moving in which will last about two days before high temperatures climb back into the mid 70’s by the weekend. No complaints here, still beautiful weather no matter how you look at it. If you are wanting to get offshore it looks like Saturday may be the best day this week but don’t force it. If it’s a little too windy, there are other things to do. The surf fishing is epic this time of year. We have received solid reports of pompano, whiting, bluefish and redfish being caught. Don’t forget about the lagoons, inlets and our nearshore fishery which has been producing well.
Click here to check out the forecast from the National Weather Service.
Every week, we randomly draw a name from our email subscriber list to award a $20 Strike-Zone Fishing Gift Card. The winner’s name is published in every weekly report. The only catch is, if you are announced as a winner, you must email us to claim your prize. Congrats to this week’s winner, David Sims of Melbourne. If you’re not already a Spacefish subscriber, click here to sign up.
A special thanks to BT’s Welding and Fish Skinz Apparel for sponsoring our giveaways over the last few months. Stay tuned for more Spacefish Giveaways coming up soon!
Quentin Browning of Palm Bay, winner of the casting platform from BT’s Welding, receives his prize!
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In every week’s Spacefish fishing report, we turn to both fishing pros and average joe’s for input on what’s happening in and around Brevard County’s many fisheries. Check out what people are saying about the bite in the Space Coast this week:
Awesome Fishing Offshore & Nearshore
I have been slammed working on the boats lately, but when granted the opportunity to go fishing, the bite has been AWESOME both nearshore and offshore. The reef is on fire with sailfish, kingfish, dolphin… I mean, everything! Live bait is plentiful all over and easy to catch. Slow trolling with these live bait rigs should produce good results. Nearshore is also insane with sharks of many species and giant reds schooling up and down the beach. Look for the birds and you’ll find the fish. Cobia have also been out there in good numbers from PAFB to Buoy 2. Look for the rays and you’ll find the cobia.
by Capt. Chris Cameron
Fired Up Charters | (407) 222-3573
Surf fishing again!
The waves were super flat this morning with just a small breeze. Within minutes of wetting my line, I had a bite and the fight was on. A nice 15″ Spanish Mackerel to start the day. And then I spotted what I first thought was a mat of seagrass floating my way. However, it was a huge school of tailing redfish. I dropped my line in front of the school and had a huge run from one of the fish. Unfortunately, he was able to pull the hook out and I lost my fish. I ended the day with the mackerel and some of the largest whiting I have seen.
8 Jan 2019…Not a big number of Trout, one just over 3 and a pair over 4. Missed/lost a couple of bigger girls. Sail Cats were in the mix and were very aggressive, all in the 4 to 5 pound range. Snapper wee a royal pain, several in the 11 to 12 inch range, too many shorts to count. Big Snook are in, but not in a playing mood, had several shorts. Found a Rat and a barely legal Red. Picked up a 16 inch Atlantic Croaker to go with the Red and Tout for the FWC Family Slam. Baby Vudu Shrimp and Rapala Skitter Walk both worked overtime today. All players released for future encounters.
Good Trout Action!
27.5″ seatrout caught on a 5″ gulp jerkshad from this week!
Finally some good trout action! 2019 has started out a little bit warmer than I expected, but since the last cool front the trout bite has really picked up. Most anglers can always find the typical 12-15 inch sea trout in large numbers along deeper drop offs, channel edges, deeper spoil islands and pretty much all year round, but I personally love to target large speckled seatrout in our cooler months. With that being said this week has finally been more consistent “gator trout fishing.”
When it comes to catching larger seatrout I like to put away the popping corks, the heavier jigs and move away from the deeper water — the total opposite that most would think about when it comes to trout fishing. I like larger profile baits such as big weedless swimbaits, 5-6″ jerk shads, and even large cut baits. If you can find a shallow water grass flat with good sand holes and lots of mullet, these big trout aren’t going to be far.
I look for areas with as much grass as possible. Even if it’s tough to cast a lure, cast your bait past the sand holes and try to give the slowest presentation possible while still moving your bait. Big trout are huge ambush predators and they use these sand holes to ambush shrimp, mullet, and other small baitfish. If you find an area that seems to have lots of trout and you just can’t get them to chew, set up wind and toss out large ladyfish chunks 3 to 5 inches in these sand holes. It may take a while but this usually does the trick and might even get you a redfish as by catch.
I have found large trout to be very smart and one of the hardest fish to target, but a little patience goes a long way. The trout fishing has been fantastic lately and will hopefully only get better! Remember, these fish are very crucial to our future and I highly recommend everyone catch and release, especially anything over 18 inches! These fish can make many more for years to come.
by Capt. Alex Hughey
All Water Adventures | (321) 222-7511
Pomps, Permit, and More!
There’s plenty of Pompano around the Space Coast right now! A great way to catch these fish are by using Pompano Riggs by Couture baited with fishbites in clam and flea scents and blanched/live fleas. This setup has been working fantastically for me and my clients.
The morning bite has been better than evening. If you can pair the morning with the hour before, of or after high or low tide, you’ve got the optimal window to fill your cooler. Apart from pompano, we’re still catching whiting, croakers, mackerel bluefish, sheepshead, as well as some slot red fish and black drum! And if you’re lucky you might just catch a trophy Permit! Most pompano and Permit are being caught on the outside bar (Zone 3). As for the Whiting and drums, they’ll be between the first trough in shore or beginning or backside or second bar (zone 2). Remember to find clean water and a good outflow!
I still have dates available for the season. Give me a call and let’s book your charter today!
by Caleb Couture
Tradewinds Surf Fishing Charters, Pompano Riggs by Couture | (321) 271-1061
Redfish are schooled up and will jump on a finger mullet, jumbo shrimp or a well-placed paddle-tail. With the approaching cold front I would expect the schools to get larger with the low clean water. I have several days open over the next two weeks so book a charter and let’s go catch some fish!
by Capt. Mike Mann
Fat Fish Guide Service | (386) 295-5991
Tripletail Nearshore, Black Drum Inshore
Tripletail action along the near-shore waters has been very good over the past week and a half. Live shrimp or small baitfish on a jig head are the best way to get them to strike. Floating debris and buoys are good places to search for these tasty fish. Bait pods are holding sharks, bluefish, cobia and bonito which are all possible catches when you cast a live pogie, jig or top water plug around the pods. Some of the sharks are running in the 150 pound class.
Black drum catches are still pretty good this week near bridges and spoil islands in the Indian River. Cut crab or live shrimp are the best baits to use for them. Schools of drum can also be found along drop offs and deeper edges of the flats between the NASA causeway and the railroad bridge.
by Capt. Jim Ross
Fine Line Fishing Charters | (321) 636-3728
We’re Gonna Have A Shrimp Run 2019
Lots of buzz concerning Central Florida and South Florida shrimping. It’s my prediction this will be a late start season but it will arrive. Oak Hill and Edgewater catching dozens, if that. Hundreds of mature catfish school the lights and shut down the anglers visibility. This is 3rd year warm water shrimping keeps fish and bait active. They are attracted to light. It’s ok to eat the shrimp in Brevard County despite the sewage spills months ago. Railroad bridge been paying out dozens to 1 gallon of 5 to 7 inch shrimp when conditions are ideal. South Florida and Keys are also not as strong as last season. Titusville pier is open. Get out there when a spinning low arrives out front of a cold front. When winds are S or W, and blowing 5 mph and up, get your nets wet. If you pull a shrimp that looks bizarre, it most likely a mutant or pure breed Asian Tiger shrimp. It could have orange racing stripe, yellow or black colors or any combo of colors. Report it to me, freeze it intact so it can be DNA tested. As the season picks up. I will give you the Intel right here on SF.
Great Start to 2019
Kevin and Capt. Glyn with a nice pair of Reds
We had a great start to 2019. Weather was warm and the fishing was hot. Plenty of Snook and Redfish at the inlet. Live Greenies and pinfish were the preferred baits on incoming tide.
Along with the Snook and Redfish, there were Cubera Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Triggerfish, Bluefish and Mackerel in the inlet and along the beaches. Use live bait for the Snapper and Soft plastics or spoons were both successful for the jacks Bluefish and Mackerel.
Rayc with a nice Snook!
by Capt. Glyn Austin
Going Coastal Charters | (321) 863-8085
Went out to the Bight for a bit Saturday. It was slow most of the day but this guy bit a free lined shrimp I had out. I heard the drag start going and set the hook on my first shark. Turned out to be about a four foot Bonnethead.
Best part was I caught it on my new rod/reel. A 7 ft. med-light rod on a Shimano Stradic 3000. It has 20 lb. braid with a 20 lb. floro leader. I was surprised I got it in at all. I had to be gentle with it, that’s for sure.
Reds Inshore and Sharks Nearshore
The water remains brown from Port St John and North Merritt Island southward, but it seems to be cool and breezy enough to keep dissolved oxygen levels sufficient so far. Therefore, redfish have still been caught along the eastern shoreline and in canals using live shrimp and soft plastics. 20-40lb black drum are starting to show in the North Merritt Island area, but were not eating as of Sunday 1/6. The lagoon looks much healthier in the area east of Titusville. (still nothing like a decade ago)
Blacktip and spinner sharks have been on the inner shoals north of Port Canaveral and on the beach. This week’s cold fronts will probably send them back to the south. Pompano fishing should remain good, and big sheepshead will become abundant if the water temperature falls below 68.
Day Late, Dollar Short
Everybody that went out surf fishing on Saturday just crushed it. After hearing all the stories and great reports, including trophy permits and pompano limits, I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice on Sunday afternoon: I turned off the Chargers/Ravens playoff game and headed to the beach. Unfortunately, it seems the fish got all their eating in the day before, because it was pretty dead out there.
Starting off in Melbourne Beach at Ponce de Leon, there were a few small groups of other anglers out there. They said they didn’t have any luck and packed up shortly after our arrival. After trying for about an hour without so much as a bite, we packed up and headed north to Satellite Beach. I was sure we’d find some fish there. However, one angler was coming in while we were walking down the boardwalk and reported a similarly bleak outing. After fishing for about an hour without a catch, the sun was dropping below the dune and it was starting to get cold. We were about to pack it in when pelicans showed up and started diving about 50 yards out. I made one final cast in their direction and pulled in a small jack to avoid a skunk on the day.
There weren’t any sand fleas to be found at either beach location. We used live/peeled shrimp and a combination of Fishbite flavors including shrimp, clam, and sand flea. Hopefully the fish will be kinder next time around!
Down South Pompano Report
Happy New Years to all our friends. For weeks the pomps have been stacked up in the river from Round Island to St. Lucie Inlet. We’re talking schools and big fish. I firmly believe this years El Nino has driven Northern pompano into our region stronger than past seasons.
The silver nuggets haven’t been fussy on their bait selections. Historically, approximately 80% of these fish are caught on sand fleas, clams and shrimp. This season the ultralight with jigs and quills command equal time! Bar none, the experience of having a super charged up mini permit on a small quill is a rush! The flats guys, the I got the weekend to go boating angler, are putting bag limits in their coolers.
The bridge silence is golden… What you don’t hear usually means something is stirring. How many times have you driven past the relief bridges to find a bite on the beach and not noticed these seemingly quiet guys just jerking their rods. Probably the only time you notice is when you’re heading back home and several silvery sliders slip the rail. Or a hoop net plops a slab on the road. Well this is happening daily on the Stuart and Jensen relief bridges..
Jig sizes 3/8 to ½ ounce in pink/white, chartreuse/white, pink/bronze and orange/white two tones. Quill colors range from pink, yellow, white, to light green and even black. In brown clear water my #1 is a pure white jig with a fuschia quill! A nice active jigging rod, little spinner with 8 lb. braid and or 10 lb. mono. That’s the total investment for bridge and jetty fishing.
Beach fishing for the first week of 2019 has been killer in Vero Beach. Round Island is the place to be. Naturally by the time you read this report they have vanished. Good catches on Hutchinson Island and both Hobe Sound Beaches. Early morning bluefish bite crazy at like everywhere. Juno and Jupiter are spotty but will demand attention shortly..
As the best offshore anglers say “You find the mackeral, you find the Pompano.” Same goes for the beaches… Tight Lines and stay thirsty my friend…
by Pompano Rich
I caught that fish on a rod and reel which I use to throw my 5 oz Sputnik connected to a Pomp Boss rig baited with native salt clam. The beach was quite calm so I walked out into almost chest deep water before casting out my rig as far as possible. Both times recently I have caught big permit they were on the far out rod. I also lost one pompano in the wash that day but other than that had no hits and also no bait stealers and no catfish so over all a great day to enjoy the beach. Ton of action several 100 yd off shore including quite a few mackerel. Lots of bait and feeding activity and birds including frigate birds just off the beach which indicates great fishing from a boat.
by Native Salt Clam
Native Salt Clam Bait | (772) 571-5883
The surf fishing has been great this week. While trying to catch pompano I landed three 27″ redfish. One on Saturday and two on Sunday. I was unable to get any pompano but the man fishing just down the beach was slaying them. I was able to get several blues, whitings, rays, sharks, and ladyfish. The fishing gods have been kind this week.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA
Check out what’s been caught on camera while fishing in around the Space Coast this week.