Weekly Forecast: 3.12.2019 – 3.18.2019

2019-03-12T22:41:34+00:00

Blue Marlin Real Estate - Merritt Island & Cocoa Beach

WEEKLY FORECAST

3.12.2019 – 3.18.2019

A CENTRAL FLORIDA FISHING FORECAST EVERY TUESDAY

seatrout

The seatrout are biting — this beauty was caught with Capt. Jesse Austin of Going Coastal Charters.

WIND FROM EVERYWHERE

Typical for this time of year, the wind will be coming at us from all directions. North, east, south and north, in that order. This will make it challenging for the folks wanting to get offshore, but fortunately, there’s still good fishing options in the lagoon, inlets, surf, and freshwater.

The trout bite really seems to be heating up in the lagoon so this may be a good place to start. There are plenty of baits that can be fished on a ¼ or 1/8 ounce jig head from Gulp baits, Saltwater Assassin, trout-touts, Mirrolure Lil Johns, etc. These are all great baits to use to cover some ground while searching for the fish and they work for a variety of species such as snook, redfish, tarpon, flounder, ladyfish and mangrove snapper. You just never know what you going to catch when using this approach, and it’s always fun fighting them on lighter spinning combo.

Find out what all else is going on in and around Central Florida fisheries in the contributor reports below!

Sunstate Pest Control

SPACE B.O.I. FORECAST

OFFSHORE

67.12%

TOP TARGETS

  • Tripletail
  • Snapper
  • Amberjack

INSHORE

77.81%

TOP TARGETS

  • Seatrout
  • Redfish
  • Black Drum

SURF/JETTY

75.44%

TOP TARGETS

  • Pompano
  • Whiting
  • Snook

Blue Marlin Real Estate - Merritt Island & Cocoa Beach

GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Central Florida Shootout Fishing Tournament

For the past year, we’ve drawn an email subscriber every week to win a $20 gift card to Strike-Zone Fishing. This giveaway is going on a temporary hiatus while we instead dole out tickets to the 2019 Central Florida Shootout. Each ticket is good for tourney admission in addition to entry in the grand prize raffle to win a $60,000 new boat. Congrats to this week’s winner, Victor Rienzo of Titusville — Victor, please email us within 7 days to claim your prize.

Over the next eight weeks we’ll be providing readers new ways to win Shootout tickets, in addition to being randomly drawn from our email subscriber list (click here to subscribe), so stay tuned!

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Fishing Reports

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:

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Good Trout & Black Drum Bite
March 18, 2019

Good Trout & Black Drum Bite

We had a really good trout bite this past week on topwater and paddle-tails fishing around the drop offs and in the sandy holes in the river. Most of these fish have responded better in the afternoon rather than the morning. The black drum have been actively feeding when you can find them, especially when the sun warms the water up. The bluefish, pompano and Spanish mackerel are in the shallow waters near the beaches and we have been getting them to bite Goofy style jigs as well as small paddle-tails and subsurface baits like Rapala Subwalks. Make sure you give us a call at 321-636-3728 or go to our website for booking information.

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

Monster Fish Close to Shore
March 18, 2019

Monster Fish Close to Shore

We were going to tripletail fish out of Port Canaveral Saturday, but there were two or three boats on almost ever buoy by 7:00AM.

There was a huge school of black drum off the beach. They would occasionally hit a shrimp. That meant using a smaller hook that could straighten. They turned off and went down by 8:30AM. This school of fish probably moved south with the cooler weather. If spotted, use medium to heavy spinning gear with large shrimp or crab. Sometimes, they will eat a cobia jig if you rip it through them out of defense.

After seeing a manta ray close to the beach in warmer 70° water, we thought it would be a good idea to look for cobia on the outer shoals. However, 67° water and increasing wind made it highly unlikely.

We went back towards shore because we had seen dozens, if not hundreds of 75-150lb jumping blacktip sharks. The blacktip migration was on. They are an underrated game fish for sure. There were so many that hooking up would sometimes take less than 2 seconds. If your chunk slid up the line, another shark would eat it and break the line. Definitely a trip-saver if and when your targeted species doesn’t show.

The bait of choice is a fresh chunk of a bloody fish such as a jack or bluefish. Hook it to a very sharp, thin but strong, non offset 9/0 circle hook. Trokar makes a great hook for sharks. Use 18-24 inches of 108lb wire leader and 3-5ft of 80lb mono shock leader. I would recommend a heavy to extra heavy spinning setup with at least 250 yards of 40-65lb braid.

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Another Wild & Windy Week Behind Us
March 18, 2019

Another Wild & Windy Week Behind Us

big trout

Mark caught a big spotted seatrout on a recent trip with Capt. Mark Wright. The Z-Man Pop Shadz hanging from the trophy’s mouth truly excels in choppy water fishing!

Sunday I joined Capt. Tom Carver as a second boat. One of my anglers was only an occasional fisherman who was “new” to the mechanics of spinning reels. I’ll give the gent credit; he learned fast and as a result he caught several trout. His experienced partner had much better results with a bunch of trout and a respectable redfish.

I spent a Monday and Tuesday with Top Water Tony and his buddy Mark.

Our first day was relatively uneventful as we worked through a couple of miles of backwater areas. It was a day of “ones” as they seemingly caught one of everything including a flounder. The bumpy ride back to the ramp proved to portend Tuesday’s weather conditions.

Tuesday we launched into a stiff northwest breeze of about twelve mph. As we were heading across the choppy open water to spot one I made the snap decision to go elsewhere. While we’ll never know if I made the best call by deviating from our original plan this decision was well rewarded.

Our first thirty minutes or so resulted in no bent rods though Tony’s top water plug was routinely “slapped” at by little trout. Once I was able to maneuver the boat into a favorite location the bite was on!

Here Mark struck gold using a Z-Man Pop Shadz. His first trout was near “Gator” status though we did not measure or weight it. As we were taking Mark’s photo Tony hooks up again after losing his first three hook-ups. This fish was respectable though not even close in size to two of the three monsters he briefly hooked!

The rest of their morning was slower paced with a more sporadic pace. Still each of them caught several more trout. No redfish were caught on this windy day.

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

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Sebastian Inshore/Nearshore
March 18, 2019

Sebastian Inshore/Nearshore

tripletail

Captain Noah with his first and biggest Tripletail of the day at 27″

Had a really good week inshore and nearshore. Plenty of trout, jacks and a few snook in the lagoon this week. Most of the fish were caught on Storm 360 Coastal Series jerk baits and paddle tail baits around the spoil islands. We also had a pretty good triple tail bite inshore on live shrimp.

Nearshore still has a bunch of jacks, mackerel and bluefish with some pompano and sharks mixed in. Goofy jigs are the best artificial for Pompano and the blues and Mackerel are eating anything with a flash. The sharks are eating anything you throw at them as far as live bait with a great bite on topwater, too. We had some rays nearshore with cobia on them eating jigs and live mullet or greenies. Winds are gonna be up pretty high early this week so the best opportunity to get on the water will be inshore, so focus on deeper areas around islands, docks and deeper shorelines for trout, snook and reds.

tripletail

Bryson with a nice Tripletail

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

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Treasure Coast Report
March 18, 2019

Treasure Coast Report

Hello from Treasure Coast Marina! This week was a mixed bag of weather conditions that impacted the fishing. Overall, though, it was decent. The surf report from my friend’s back yard just north of the inlet showed pompano and whiting strong. A few stray blue fish have been in that group as well.

The jetties are still producing big snook and reds. Medium to large-sized pinfish is what is getting the job done there. No reports of flounder anywhere, so door may be officially shut on the season.

Lots of good drum catches are being made around the markers and the docks. These fish are dining on big shrimp. Oh, also some friends are getting nice results while experimenting with Native Salt Clams. They are reporting that both sheepshead and drum seem to like this salted clam bait.

The weekend was pretty windy so not much of a report for those days. Check in with you next week!

by Capt. Bonnie Roberts
Treasure Coast Marina | (321) 733-3390

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Good Fishing with Late Season Front
March 18, 2019

Good Fishing with Late Season Front

Fishing has been good lately and getting better with the late season cold front. Black drum, redfish and trout have been eating well on live free lined shrimp. After the cold front and toward the start of April look for tarpon to be showing up as well as cobia and tripletail.

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

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Mid-March Mosquito Lagoon / Coastal Fishing Report
March 18, 2019

Mid-March Mosquito Lagoon / Coastal Fishing Report

Mosquito Lagoon and CFL Coastal Fishing Report

As spring progresses here in Central Florida and the Space Coast our fishing has shown steady improvement on the Lagoons, out of Port Canaveral and on the St Johns River Freshwater.

On the Mosquito and the Indian River Lagoons, water levels are in a moderate range and the water clarity is still dirty in most locations. Add these factors to the winds of March, and you have challenging fishing conditions. Although the conditions have been challenging, we have still managed to catch some very respectable redfish and black drum, you just have to work harder to locate and catch them. In addition, the silver mullet have returned to the flats in good numbers, so the top water plug action for sea trout is picking up in the skinny water.

The fishing has been very good for tripletail out of Port Canaveral and the cobia have arrived in good numbers. The only issue here is the weather and sea conditions have made fishing out of the Port very challenging for small craft anglers. Hopefully the cobia will still be around after these fronts move out and the seas settle down, so keep a good eye on the weather and get them while you can.

Water levels on the St johns River are also in the moderate range and the shell cracker brim have been on the beds during the full and new moon phases and they are bedding up on the shell bottom. The largemouth bass bite has been slow for me in the areas I fish, but the saving grace has been the sunshine bass. As our spring showers progress and St Johns water levels rise, look for the channel catfish bite to improve as the current and flow of the rive increase.

As always, if you need have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing!

by Capt. Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters | (407) 416-1187

Fishing Wind Protected Canals for Speckled Trout
March 14, 2019

Fishing Wind Protected Canals for Speckled Trout

Seeking refuge from the windy river, we found a mangrove-protected deep water canal that leads into a popular marina nearby. Today we started fishing around 4:30pm. The bite was hot early and mellowed out towards dusk. I believe between with the windy conditions during the day, and cooler temps during the evening, fish have moved back to deeper water. Also, the feeding habits have been later in the morning and earlier in the evening, during warmer water temps.

The fish we found were laid up in the canal at depths of 4-7 feet. The canal we were fishing was 2-3 degrees warmer than deeper parts of the river. Smaller swim baits like the 3inch Gulp Curly Tail in chartreuse was the ticket today. Pitching these baits along the mangroves, pausing for 2-3 seconds after the first “twitch twitch,” was the key to catching the speckled trout. As soon as I motioned for the second round of twitches during my retrieve, I was able to draw a strike what felt like every other cast.

In total, we caught ten fish, lost countless at the side of the boat, and missed one good sized redfish. The red was in the mid 20’s and was laying in the shadows almost directly on the bank of canal. The larger of the speckled trout were right at the bottom of the slot, 15-16 inches. We also reeled in another lone ladyfish. Almost had back to back weeks of “poor man” slams! Looking forward to spending a lot of time on the rivers next week, as it’s spring break for me, thanks to teaching! Have a safe and good week out on the water everyone!

Fat Trout
March 14, 2019

Fat Trout

fat trout

Wabasso South…Trout in the 18 to 19 inch range are on just about every flat. Catching them on a Matrix Shad rigged 18″ under a popping cork. Also finding them in the Mangrove drops with the Baby Vudu Shrimp. Sheepshead are starting to return from their annual vacation.

by Trouble

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Get Funky with Black Drum
March 14, 2019

Get Funky with Black Drum

black drum

Windy week of fishing! The wind has really picked up this week but the fishing has been pretty good. I have shifted most of my fishing around the Indian River and some in Mosquito Lagoon. The black drum have made another good appearance around the docks and bridges, a dead stinky shrimp has really been the key. Don’t be scared to let you bait sit in the sun for an hour or two to get some added funk! The black drum just can’t resist the funk! Fish these stinky morsels tight to the pilings where the water starts to drop off with a 1/4 oz. jig-head and wait for the thump.

Also this week I have been seeing some large redfish, most fish have been on the outside of large sandbars where the water makes a quick drop off. The fish are roaming these bars in search of an easy meal. A large black mullet head or mid-section fished free lined on a 5/0 or 6/0 circle hook attached to 30lb. leader has worked very well. These fish take some patience so don’t be surprised if you wait a while for a bite, you may not get a lot but the ones you get will be worth the wait!

by Capt. Alex Hughey
All Water Adventures | (321) 222-7511

FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR
Reporting from the Conch Republic
March 12, 2019

Reporting from the Conch Republic

wahoo - key west

Welcome from the island south of you. Capt Charles Donney here with a little on what’s been happening in Key West. A couple of big yellowfins hooked last week got the gossip going on the dock. I believe they both broke off after a long battle. Both were hooked while live baiting blackfins over deep wrecks outside the reef (240-270 ft). Goes to show you never know what will swim up to your boat out there.

Inshore, tarpon are on the move. The flats and bay boat guys are seeing and hooking more of the bigger fish this last week with many over 100lbs. Bonefish and permit are strong so now’s a great time to make a run at the grand slam, knock that off your angling bucket list!!!

On the reef my snapper fishing has been a little slow numbers wise but the size of the yellowtail haven gotten much nicer. The bigger fish have more meat so my clients have still been walking away with a cooler full of dinner and sandwiches. We did pull a nice cobia off a 10ft tiger shark yesterday as well as a 38lb kingfish for the smoker.

Offshore the sailfish are turning on as they start pushing past us. Live baiting with ballyhoo or thread hearing from the edge of the reef out to about 160’ should get you a few bites. Look for the color change or a rip and put in some time. Didn’t hear much on dolphin last week.

That’s all for now, have to set up the boat for my afternoon father/son charter. These are my favorites! Keep your kids fishing and have a great day everyone.

key west fishing report

by Capt. Chuck Donney
Tails2Sails | (305) 923-9305

On Golden Pond…
March 12, 2019

On Golden Pond…

There’s gold in them DAR hills!

The other day I wrote about landing a trophy bass in a pond I had meaning to check out… I knew I saw more monsters in that pond. I kept thinking about it all day yesterday. Now that the time has changed, we have more light after work so I grabbed my board and headed back to it.

Knowing this was going to be more of a pitch and flip situation I brought my pitching sticks, a couple 6-power rods with 20 and 65 lb. braid line and reels in the 8.x gear range. Creature baits were the lure of choice, Havoc Pit Bosses to be exact; just two primary colors were used, Texan and June Bug.

When I first got there I could not see much into the water so I was blindly pitching as it was overcast and the sun was going down. I also used the good ole’ fan casting technique, ran the lure along the weed edge, and even a few casts were also lobbed towards the middle of the pond. None produced bites. The pattern was repeated for about an hour, moving each spot about 50 yards away from the last. After those tactics didn’t produce results I switched tactics and was only going to fish when I saw one… and did I find one.

Paddling along the weed-line I spot a Donkey of a fish. As I paddle over it, it spooks. It gives itself away when it did so I go out about 20 yards and paddle my board into the thick grass about five feet so I can use the paddle-board as more of a fishing platform and not have it rock every time I move on it- spooking my quarry below. As I’m getting my gear ready for the battle to come, the donkey comes back and sits on its bed.

I dropped the June bug Pit Boss a couple of feet away from it and it gets its attention-barely. It circles around it, then it just sits there. I dead stick it for a couple minutes, nothing; shake it, nothing. This staring contest lasts for a good 20 minutes.

I can’t figure it out until I remember one technique I saw Scott Martin do on his YouTube channel. Once, in a similar situation, he leaves the first bait down there deadsticked while presenting another bait.

Leaving the ignored June Bug Pit Boss on the bed I drop the Pit Boss, in Texan flavor, on the other side of the bed, give it a couple of shakes when it inhales it!

I set the hook, almost falling off the board. I have the drag set tight so the fight doesn’t last that long, less than a minute. It manages a jump and couple runs but not much. I’m still in the grass so I just drag the donkey onto it, grab it by the mouth, and take the pics to share. It is let go, right back on its bed, and I call it a night. It wasn’t as big as the one I caught yesterday but still a great catch.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it …

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Florida Sport Fishing Association

UPCOMING EVENTS

CFFW MARINE FLEA MARKET

CFFW
The CFFW 22nd Annual Marine Flea Market is March 30th – 31st from 8:00am to 4:00pm at Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island, FL. Central Florida’s LARGEST marine flea market offers free admission, free parking, and something for everyone! Don’t miss out!

2019 BOATING & FISHING EXPO

CFFW
This year’s Boaters Exchange Expo is April 6th, 2019. If you’ve never been, this an awesome, FREE, event that you don’t want to miss. There’s food, beer, boats, and some amazing guest speakers. This year features Joshus Jorgensen of BlacktipH, Joey Antonelli, Leiza Fitzgerald, Justin Ross, and more.

51ST ANNUAL OFFSHORE SLAM

FSFA
Early registration is now open for the FSFA 51st Annual Offshore Slam. The tournament is June 1, 2019, and boasts big, guaranteed cash prizes including: $13,000 in General Awards, $5,000 Big Fish, and $3,000 SLAM!

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.

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