Ocean Obession II - Port Canaveral Deep Sea Fishing Charters

WEEKLY FORECAST

2.18.2020 – 2.24.2020

A CENTRAL FLORIDA FISHING FORECAST EVERY TUESDAY

inshore tarpon fishing

Cooper looking good in his Spacefish shirt, showing off a nice juvenile tarpon caught fishing the lagoon.

Florida’s funky winter weather pattern continues. Meanwhile, with several of our contributing captains occupied with the Miami Boat Show over the weekend, we’re a little light on reports. However, we still have some great info this week from Capt. Alex Hughey, Capt. Glyn Austin, and several recreational anglers…

Sunstate Pest Control

SPACE B.O.I. FORECAST

OFFSHORE

80.79%

TOP TARGETS

  • cobia
  • snapper
  • tilefish

INSHORE

77.15%

TOP TARGETS

  • sheepshead
  • snook
  • black drum
  • Seatrout

BEACH

80.23%

TOP TARGETS

  • Pompano
  • Whiting
  • snook

WEATHER OVERVIEW: The first part of the week is going to be the time to get out on the water. Lower winds out of the south will bring temperatures in the low 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Come Thursday, the wind will shift out of the north and rain chances will increase to 50%. However, Thursday night and Friday is when our next cold front moves in. The wind will really pick up and our temperatures will drop down into the mid 60s Friday and Saturday before creeping back up to the low 70s on Sunday.

Click here to check out the marine forecast from the National Weather Service.

Boaters Exchange - NauticStar 251 Hybrid

GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Win A FREE Trip with Jim Ross!

substate fishing trip giveaway

In celebration of 40 years of servicing Brevard County, Sunstate Pest Management is giving away a FREE flats/inshore fishing trip guided by the legendary Capt. Jim Ross of Fineline Fishing Charters. The five hour trip includes one to two anglers and can be redeemed within one year of winning the prize.

The winner will be randomly selected from all entries and announced in the weekly forecast on April 7, 2020. Click here to read the the full terms and conditions for contest entry. Enter the contest by registering below. Good luck, but most importantly, whether you’ve got a pest problem or are just looking for a preventative pest management solution, pick up the phone and call the amazing people of Sunstate Pest at 1-800-781-PEST (7378)!

CONTEST ENTRY FORM

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WEEKLY STRIKE-ZONE GIVEAWAY

Every week, we randomly draw a name from our email subscriber list to award a $20 Strike-Zone Fishing Gift Card. Congrats to this week’s winner, Robert Mollica of Titusville — Robert, please email us within 7 days to claim your prize. For everyone else, if you’re not already a subscriber, click here to enter the weekly giveaway!

strike zone gift card giveaway

Miley Marine Surveyors

Fishing Reports

In every week’s Spacefish fishing forecast, we turn to both fishing pros and average joe’s for input on what’s happening in and around Brevard County’s many fisheries. Here’s what people are saying about the bite in the Space Coast this week. And don’t forget — anyone — including YOU, can contribute a report to the list below!

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Canaveral Offshore Forecast: July 2020
July 2, 2020

Canaveral Offshore Forecast: July 2020

red snapper fishing

The big buzz of July is the open harvest of Red Snqpper.

JUNE RECAP

The positive thinking worked! We could not have asked much more out of June. Flat calm seas, plenty of live bait and great fishing from right on the beach to 100 miles offshore. King mackerel, tarpon, sharks and goliath grouper were plentiful along the beach. King mackerel, sailfish, mahi, cobia, wahoo, mangrove snapper, trigger fish, vermillion snapper and lane snapper from 60 ft to 120 ft. Beyond 120 ft produced amberjacks, almaco jacks, grouper, vermillion snapper, mahi, black fin tuna, triggerfish, sailfish and tunas.

Everything was good so let’s keep the positivity going for July.

Port Canaveral monthly fishing forecast

NEARSHORE

Fish early or late but avoid the mid day near shore slump. Expect to find pogies tight to the surf and be sure to keep a eye out for the tarpon as you are looking. Every morning and evening you will see the silver king swimming North. I don’t know when they go back South or if it is new fish every day but they always seem to be on a Northbound march. We have seen and can expect to find permit stacked on some of the further buoys marking the shoals, close wrecks and if you fish down to Sebastian they will be in the surf line on outgoing tide. Big goliath grouper have set up their summertime home along the shipping channel and any given structure inside of 15 miles so bring the big gear and test your muscle.

Sharks galore up and down Cocoa Beach and North of Canaveral to Daytona. Blacknose, finetooth, spinner, blacktip and hammerheads are the most common. If you catch the big hammers be sure to snap a very quick picture boat side and cut the line. Try not to ever have these sharks stop swimming forward. In our most recent work with the shark tagging programs we have learned that just about every shark is a tank and can handle the stress of catch and release with the exception of hammerheads so let’s do our part to make sure these magnificent sharks are released safely for everyone to enjoy.

Live bait trolling for king mackerel and the occasional cobia will be really good. The best place to start will be just offshore of the bait in the clean water. Snook are loaded but are spawning so its not a bad idea to leave them alone plus they are very finicky during the spawn. If you do want to catch them then try to use heavy tackle to whip them quick and get them back into the water to do their thing. Lots of options but go early or go late because mid day will most likely be a shut down.

OFFSHORE

Live bait trolling and chicken rig fishing should be the only two styles of fishing crossing most people’s minds and I will explain why further down in the report.

Lets first talk about our ever so generous four day red snapper season that once again falls right in the middle of the spawn. Get your fish and get home would be my strategy, but I also understand making the most of the day. The red snapper should be easy and we all know that no one is taking the first few fish they catch. Start off using big baits; literally baits that are border line shark fishing size or goliath grouper size. Keep the first x amount of respectable fish that come over the gunnels to your limit. After you reach your limit, I suggest switching everyone to chicken rig fishing for vermillion snapper, trigger fish, lane snapper and porgies. At the end of the day you will have a phenomenal catch. If you only want to go big, you can continue to soak big baits and weed through snapper but the grouper bite is not going to be great. The water is too clear and the grouper numbers just aren’t right, so in my opinion, it is a waste of time.

Live bait trolling is what you should be doing in the Summer. This past weeks fishing has solidified it for me when it come to summertime fishing because we have caught more of everything while live bait trolling than we have by specifically targeting certain species such as sailfish and mahi. Everyone needs to wrap their heads around that it is only called king fishing because that happens to be the dominant, most abundant and most aggressive species. Think about the logistics of this. If you see a mahi, sailfish, cobia, tuna, wahoo or pretty much any other pelagic species and you only had one thing to throw at them, what would it be? A live bait should be your answer. When you troll live baits, no, you don’t cover as much water, but anything that live bait gets in front of will eat it. I never refer to live bait trolling as king fishing because it is absolutely the wrong thing to call it. The only reason not to live bait troll in the summer is if you can’t stand the thought of catching a lot of king mackerel throughout the day. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to catch kings but that would be the only reason not to live bait troll.

Mangrove snapper fishing this month can be awesome and I very rarely, if ever, mention it as a option. You can find them from 40 to 100ft. Traditionally, we fish them with sliding sinker or knocker rigs on the bottom. This month you can get them chummed to the surface because they are spawning and like to get above the colder water. Once in a blue moon mangrove snapper fishing out of Port Canaveral can be good for anglers of all skill levels, but this scenario calls for a very rare and very blue moon :). Most calls I get inquiring about mangrove snapper fishing are anglers that have fished the Gulf or South Florida. Mangrove snapper fishing out of Canaveral is completely different.

If you think you are a good mangrove snapper fisherman but you are used to these other areas, then I am going to be truthful but unfortunately break your spirit by informing you that you are not. I am not trying to derail any potential mangrove snapper heroes but I can give you a little insight on how to get better. Fluorocarbon is a must, but have everyone start with 60 and work down to 30 if you have to. Bait presentation is everything so learn how to properly use cut baits or where to hook live baits so they are as natural as possible. You will have to master the art of applying as much pressure as possible without breaking the line from sheer force, especially when these fish are up in the water column. Knowing when to engage the bite is critical. Mangrove snapper are probably the most abundant yet difficult fish to catch out of our area.

We have several other great fishing opportunities coming this month but the above suggestions are sure to produce. We look forward to another great month of positive thinking and phenomenal fishing. I only mentioned a few of the best bets for July but we still have a lot of other great fishing opportunities such as other side tuna trips and deep dropping for golden tilefish.

by Capt. Greg Rapp
Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters | (321) 794-3474

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
The Beach is the Place to Be!
July 2, 2020

The Beach is the Place to Be!

kingfish

Rob and his family with a nice king caught trolling the beach

It’s been a great week here on the Space Coast and the fishing has been incredible inshore and along the beach. This week, with the westerly winds, I decided to fish along the beach. This time of the year can be spectacular with a plethora of species, and thankfully, things went as planned. Slow trolling live pogies in the 20-40 foot depth range across the entire coast has been good. Those in search for kingfish and other toothy critters should use a live bait kingfish rig which consists of about a foot of light wire with two treble hooks about 4 inches apart. In an “S” formation, slow troll live baits like pogies and mullet for the best results. Once you find a depth that seems to have a lot of action, stick with it! You never know what will come along this time of year.

by Capt. Alex Hughey
All Water Adventures | (321) 795-8566

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Off The Beach & Offshore
June 29, 2020

Off The Beach & Offshore

lane snapper

Nice Lane Snapper for the kids!

Spent the week off the beach and offshore. Had some good Kingfish action nearshore as well as offshore. Live bait was the key but we did get some Kingfish on soft plastics as well. The snapper bite was pretty decent with some Lane, mangrove, mutton and red snapper. Best bite was on dead bait and live shrimp. Triggerfish were on the reefs as well with some to 4lbs and we got a few big Margate as well. Inshore was a good time with the sharks and mackerel. The tarpon haven’t been as plentiful as we would like but there is plenty of action if you just look for it in the right places. Look for some good weather the rest of the week and get out off the beaches and find some bait and get on a good bite!

mutton snapper

Mike with a nice Mutton Snapper!

by Capt. Glyn Austin
Going Coastal Charters | (321) 863-8085

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Crushing it Offshore
June 29, 2020

Crushing it Offshore

sailfish port canaveral

This week, we absolutely crushed it offshore out of the Port. Too many sails to keep track of every day. Consistently hit limits of kingfish up to 45 lb again. Plus, random cobia and dolphin have been in the mix every day! Bunker have been fairly easy to catch this week, as well. Maybe it’s the flat, calm ocean thats helping keep them around right now. The reef and Pelican are the usual spots. I would not concentrate on targeting mahi, but they are around. If you have anywhere else you’re fishing, then the fish are there, as well. AJ fishing and ARS are biting great, too. Large, live croakers will get it done! Shark fishing has been on fire, as well. Cut bonita and kingfish are key for the chuncky ones.

by Capt. Chris Cameron
Fired Up Charters | (407) 222-3573

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Nearshore & Lagoons
June 29, 2020

Nearshore & Lagoons

cobia

The nearshore bite this week has been very good. Live bait like menhaden, pilchards and greenies have been working very well on a variety of species including tarpon, cobia, Jack crevalle, barracuda and king mackerel. This action should continue to get stronger as we near the next full moon phase.

kingfish

In the lagoons, bull shark, tarpon, sailcats, speckled trout and black drum have been the top targets this week. Live pilchards and mullet are best for the first four species and the drum are hitting cut crab or fresh shrimp on a sliding sinker rig or jig head. Many of the drum and trout are holding extremely tight to the shorelines, so don’t be afraid to get as shallow as your boat will let you. Fly anglers can also throw snook and juvenile tarpon into the mix when fishing around creek outflows and residential canals.

It’s shaping up to be a great summer of fishing so if you’re interested in getting out with us on one of these types of fishing charters please go to our website or give us a call at 321-636-3728 for more information and to book your adventure.

by Capt. Jim Ross
Fine Line Fishing Charters | (321) 636-3728

Beat the Sun for the Bite
June 29, 2020

Beat the Sun for the Bite

bass topwater

Make it short and sweet on the waters as by 10am it’s as I say, it’s “AFRICA HOT” outside by then. The early morning bite is still your best bet for a productive time.

I started off the other day at 3 Forks Marsh with intentions of throwing flies at a willing creature and this approach did not let me down. Bluegill was my real target, but the bass interrupted my plans. We worked tight next to a line of Lily Pads and caught plenty of bass until about 8:30am. By then the bite slowed down on our topwater offerings. I made a switch to conventional gear and started throwing my “Go To” lure. A YO-Zuri 3DS Suspending Minnow in the same area as earlier in the morning which kept my rod bent until the BIG orange heat ball in the sky told us the fun was over.

Heat indexes are pushing triple digits so please bring along and drink plenty of fluids. There was another boat nearby and they were jogging for specks which they filled their limits for the day, too. We finished our morning by 10:30am and enjoyed the shelter of air conditioning. Our SUMMERTIME BLUES are here to stay for awhile!

bass on fly

by Terry Lamielle
| (321) 537-5346

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Reporting from Fort Pierce
June 29, 2020

Reporting from Fort Pierce

redfish

This little redfish smacked the Z-Man Curly Tailz so hard we thought it was a much bigger fish!

The best bite from Fort Pierce right now is offshore. The Mangrove snapper and Mutton snapper have been chewing. Live and cut bait is catching plenty of them along with most other bottom fish. The Dolphin bite is especially good and I think every boat in the area was chasing them this past Friday!

I stayed inshore as I typically do and we caught a hodgepodge of mostly small fish. Though the trout bite was sluggish, other fish were eager. I can always tell when the hardhead catfish are nearing their spawn as they aggressively eat everything including our Z-Man three and four inch soft-plastics. The Minnowz and Diezel Minnowz were quite effective on all species this week; including a toothy barracuda and redfish hiding in the backend of a shallow cove.

Friday morning Kim, my wife, joined me on a very short scouting trip. We headed into a deep sheltered cove bordered by residential housing on one side and mangrove jungle on the other. We caught very little, but saw lots of action as the last hour or so of the falling tide exposed many oyster bars.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this much mullet in one confined area. The chance of a fish finding your lure in the swarm of the real thing was small; very small indeed. The activity stopped almost like a switch being thrown to the off position once the sun raised enough to see the bottom features of the cove.

I’ll be going back when the tides are more favorable and I’m betting we slay them. This place was holding snook, tarpon and trout in good numbers and at least one large Bonnethead shark. I’d expect a redfish or two and maybe some flounder holding near the oyster mounds. I hope to report a successful return trip here soon!

by Capt. Mark Wright
Florida East Coast Fishing Adventures | (321) 302-3474

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Shrimp Boats Thick off the Beach
June 29, 2020

Shrimp Boats Thick off the Beach

redfish
The shrimp boats have been thick off the beach with lots of tarpon, sharks, bonita and a few cobia within the bycatch. In the river, the trout bite is starting to get better the further we get past the new moon and the tarpon bite continues to be very good.
tarpon

by Capt. Mike Mann
Fat Fish Guide Service | (386) 295-5991

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Kings Patrolling the Troughs
June 29, 2020

Kings Patrolling the Troughs

kingfish in the surf

In the canals and the river around Satellite Beach we are seeing some really nice tarpon and snook. There has also been a lot of red drum and black drum being caught and of course more catfish than you care to count. We have also seen quite a few stingrays being caught as well. However, the talk of the town is the mangrove snapper bite around the bridges. It is absolutely phenomenal and anglers are catching a lot of keepers using live shrimp and light line for leader.

For our surf anglers, snook have shown up in addition to some really nice tarpon and bonita. This time of year it’s not unusual to have king mackerel patrolling the troughs looking for an easy meal. Check out the photo included with our report this week. What an epic catch from shore!

Offshore, the dolphin bite slowed some but there were still some decent fish landed over the weekend, most were smaller fish though. The bottom bite is also slow but they are getting mangroves and numerous triggerfish along with lane snapper.

by MOB
Man Overboard Bait & Tackle | (321) 777-8860

Sharky Sharks & Tarpy Tarps
June 29, 2020

Sharky Sharks & Tarpy Tarps

Join host Ryan Wood on a summertime kayak fishing adventure targeting sharks and giant tarpon off of the Florida Space Coast.

Fish Were Feeding!
June 28, 2020

Fish Were Feeding!

snook

This week, the bite was very good and produced some good fishing trips. Snook were schooled up everywhere and pretty aggressive, even the big ones (over slot). Redfish were also out and about. The bigger ones were more under the docks while the smaller reds were under the mangroves. Big trout were everywhere, too. Juvenile tarpon were very active in the canals. They were rolling in the middle of the canal but wouldn’t eat anything.

Whitebait, threadfin, and mullet were slim, but pogies were easier to find. Attached is a nice snook that I pulled out of a dock with a live pogie.

Tarpon Time
June 28, 2020

Tarpon Time

tarpon fishing

The fishing has improved again after a not so great week. Tarpon are showing up thick in all sizes all over the lagoon system. The bite is best early morning and slowing down towards noon, but they can be caught all day and night. Juvenile tarpon ranging from 1 to 40 pounds are in pretty much every creek or canal on the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon as well as some of them in the Banana River and Sykes Creek.

Catching tarpon is fun regardless, but sight fishing them on shallow flats is hard to beat. They can be found close to shore on flats where there is abundant mullet and clear water. I stayed on a school of 5lb’ers yesterday for three hours and hooked many of them. I only caught one though.

There have also been random occurrences of adult tarpon in the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon, so bring a heavy rod just in case. I saw 20 tarpon ranging from 80-120lb that would not eat on Friday, but they were gone yesterday. For more consistent (but still hit or miss) big tarpon action, fish nearshore. Most the fish are out of reach for surf anglers, but small boats and kayaks can access the fish most morning this time of year.

I usually fish a medium or medium light spinning rod with a 2500 size reel, 10lb braid, and 20lb leader for juvenile tarpon. The bigger fish (30+lbs) in those areas are best fished with a medium-heavy spinning rod, 4000 size reel, 20lb braid, and 40lb leader. To have a chance at catching a full grown tarpon, you need a heavy spinning rod with at least a 5000 size quality spinning reel, at least 30lb braid, and at least 50lb leader. Try to use even heavier unless you are not getting bites, but keep in mind that these fish sometimes are spawning with no desire to eat.

Live bait fish is the most likely way to get a bite. Finger mullet works well throughout the lagoon, and it can be caught by cast net in most shallow flats that have clear water. Nose hook it with a size 2/0 to 5/0 circle hook depending on bait size. This technique will not work when the tarpon key in on glass minnows. When that happens, use lures or flies less than 2 inches long. Bait off the beach is a lot harder to come by. Pogies are here right now, but you have to know what to look for and use a very big and heavy cast net. Small sabiki rigs inside the port can catch threadins. Drop small pieces of shrimp or squid for croakers and catfish.

Other fish species that should be biting inshore include snook, seatrout, small black drum, redfish, and sharks. Nearshore, small sharks, huge jacks, bonito, snook, and a few flounder should be biting. If offshore, expect king mackerel, red snapper, sandbar sharks, and goliath grouper. There are a few amberjack, mangrove snapper, and grouper in the mix with what NMFS will not let us keep. There also are random instances with no consistency of mahi, blackfin tuna, sailfissh, wahoo, and cobia. I would not target or expect those, but consider it a welcomed surprise if it happens.

Epic mahi fishing from a few weeks ago:

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Pompano, Snook & More in the Surf
June 25, 2020

Pompano, Snook & More in the Surf

summer pompano fishing

Pompano fishing came back with a fury last week on Brevard beaches, along with multiple other target species. What more could one ask for during a beach fishing excursion in the middle of summer? Surf fishing anglers rejoiced as the wind and seas finally subsided from the first half of June that brought with it unfavorable conditions. With that being said, water clarity improved and swells settled. This in turn created a phenomenal opportunity to get out there and do some pompano and/or snook fishing. These headliner targets are definitely the main attraction for most anglers in the surf; but, let’s not forget about the supporting cast that was also firing off — this includes whiting, margate, and croakers — and from Sebastian Inlet north through Satellite beach!

beach snook

While Pompano fishing in Florida is inherently a fall through spring fishery (with the occasional resident fish hanging around the central east coast), this year has more to offer for the surf fishing anglers willing to put in the work. Surf fishing reports from across the Space Coast recounted pompano catches in the double digits last week. This uncommon event should be celebrated and seized upon. With that being said, get the surf fishing equipment together, round up the family hit the the beach for fun in the sun!

It’s big time right now fun for every fishing type and crowd, including the whole family. If you have any impatient anglers that are difficult to wrestle into a day of beach fishing, now’s the perfect time. Take a kid fishing to provide him nonstop reeling action with a blitzing croaker and whiting bite. Greatly benefiting from the lack of distance from shore makes it an accessible and exciting fishery for families. Use fish bites, shrimp or sand fleas for best results.

by Capt. Lukas Brickweg
Cocoa Beach Surf Fishing Charters | (321) 205-4672

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American Air & Heat of Brevard

LOCAL EVENTS

BOATERS EXCHANGE FISHING SEMINAR

Capt. Alex Gorichky will be the featured speaker at this month’s Boaters Exchange Fishing Seminar in Rockledge. The event is March 3rd at 6m, and is free to the public. Capt. Alex will be discussing tips on black drum fishing.

black drum seminar

FISHING CLUB EVENTS

FSFA

March 10th, 2020: The south chapter meeting will feature Captain Scott Lum of Outcast Charters. The IGFA holder will be speaking about Cobia and Tripletail fishing. Meeting at Front Street Community Center 2205 S. Front Street, Melbourne (Across the street from Harry Goode’s/Next to the boat ramps) Social time for the meetings starts at 6:30 and the meetings start at 7:00. Public invited.

March 24th, 2020: The North chapter meeting will feature Captains Chris Cameron and Tyler Vollmer of Fired Up Charters. They will be speaking about kingfish and Cobia fishing. The meeting is at the Brevard Veteran’s Center, 400 S. Sykes Creek Parkway, Merritt Island (Behind Merritt Square Mall. Social time for the meetings starts at 6:30 and the meetings start at 7:00. Public invited.

CFFW’s 23rd Annual Marine Flea Market

Save the. date for Central Florida’s BIGGEST marine flea market! The weekend-long event isSaturday and Sunday, April 4th & 5th, at Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island. Admission and parking are FREE.

Miley Marine Surveyors

CAUGHT ON CAMERA

Check out what’s been caught on camera while fishing in around the Space Coast this week.

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THANKS FOR READING!

Thanks for reading another weekly fishing report from Spacefish. Don’t forget to listen to Spacefish ON THE RADIO every Friday at 4pm as we talk fishing with Mark Moses on SPORTS RADIO 1560 THE FAN.

Spacefish on the Radio!

Miley Marine Surveyors