12.11.2018 – 12.17.2018
A CENTRAL FLORIDA FISHING REPORT EVERY TUESDAY
Capt. Jim Ross has capitalized on the cleaner and cool water with some really nice catches like this redfish.
ANOTHER WINDY WEEK
It’s going to be another windy week ahead, so offshore is pretty much not going to happen. As for nearshore, there may be some opportunities around the bight in Port Canaveral, but on the south end of the county, be especially careful navigating Sebastian Inlet. If the right wind and tide converge, the inlet can turn surprisingly ferocious in an instant. If neither inshore or freshwater sound appealing, it’s not a bad time to knock out some routine gear maintenance — next week’s conditions look to be shaping up right for all kinds of fishing.
- The Boaters Exchange 2nd Tuesday Fishing Seminar is at their New Smryna location on Tuesday Dec. 11th from 6 – 7pm. The speaker is Capt. John Tarr who will be discussing fishing tactics specific to the winter season. Admission is free with door prizes, food, and drink.
- If you like Boats and/or parades, you’ll probably enjoy the annual Merritt Island Christmas Boat Parade, this Saturday, Dec. 15th, from 6:30 – 11:30pm. Learn more here.
IN THIS WEEK’S REPORT…
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, Jeffrey Suazo of Palm Bay. If you’re not already a Spacefish subscriber, click here to sign up.
Don’t forget, we’re still giving away two Fish Skinz Apparel t-shirts every week, and also, a casting platform from BT’s Welding on Christmas Day. Click the links below for details. Congrats to this week’s t-shirt winners: Wayne McKnight of Melbourne and Deena Brubaker of Palm Bay!
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(1) Strike-Zone Fishing $20 Gift Card
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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:
A lot of Action Across the Region
There were big schools of 3-4 inch pogies all over the bight and port. At the north jetty, there were a lot of undersized snook eating the pogies. Because of the small baits, I was using a medium-heavy shimano rod, 40 lb leader and a 2/0 circle hook. I’d use a bigger hook with bigger baits and consider heavier leader. There have been a few sheepshead already, and I expect them to become abundant soon. Use a small hook and live fiddler crab or shrimp inside the port.
If weather permits, there should be some tripletail under floating objects and buoys. Lastly, I’ve heard reports of sailfish offshore, but good luck getting offshore this week.
There have been a lot of 5-15 lb black drum and a few juvenile reds on the flats near structures in the North Merritt Island area of the Indian River Lagoon. Shrimp, clams, crabs, and soft plastics will produce a bite when the fish cooperate. It seems like the bait has to be within inches of the black drum to get a bite, unlike redfish which find the bait from a much greater distance. Push pole the flats very silently and reel the bait into the fish’s path.
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Good Sight Casting in Mosquito Lagoon
The fishing has been pretty good in the Mosquito Lagoon over the last week with some really good sight casting in the clear cool water. With another big blast of cold air coming through this week I anticipate the fishing to continue to get better. Redfish, trout, and black drum with the occasional flounder mixed in is what you should expect this time of year.
by Capt. Mike Mann
Fat Fish Guide Service | (386) 295-5991
Windy and Wet
Sean won a hard fought battle against this fifty inch beast of a redfish on a recent trip with Capt. Mark Wright. The battle scared breeder actually ate a small two inch chunk of mullet and nearly straightened out the 3/0 circle hook we were using!
We managed three trips over the last week. All three were windy and one was windy and wet. Tony spent a windy Monday morning tossing his usual top-water plugs to no avail. He did however manage a redfish a trout and a barracuda (yes a barracuda!) on a Z-Man Curly Tailz in the pearl white color.
Tuesday I took part in a multi-boat corporate charter and was forced to hide from the howling winds. Spot one only produced a trout and a few catfish. Spot two was another story. Sean caught a personal best redfish he will probably never improve on. His fifty inch behemoth easily topped the forty pound mark. The fish was battle scarred in several places though she certainly showed no signs of a disability! This monster ate a half of a frozen fingerling mullet, proving once again that elephants really do eat peanuts
My final trip was Sunday morning and we hoped for a strong bite as we fished the several hours ahead of an approaching cold front. We had a pretty good spotted seatrout bite fishing near a hurricane demolished residential dock.
The thirteen and fourteen inch trout couldn’t resist the live shrimp we suspended under popping floats. The bottlenose dolphin couldn’t resist eating the trout as we released them back into the lagoon. Mother Nature is vicious and takes advantage of every opportunity that comes along.
Strengthening winds forced us to move and our next stop offered a slower bite, but with many different species in attendance. Yes, we caught more schoolie trout along with mangrove snapper, puffers, stingrays, catfish and one lonely redfish. All in all the threesome boated a bunch of fish before the front-line overtook us and forced us in.
As I’ve said before; don’t let the wind keep you from fishing. Be selective as to where you set up and move as necessary.
by Capt. Mark Wright
Florida East Coast Fishing Adventures | (321) 302-3474
Cooler Temperatures and Clearing Water
Cooler temperatures and clearing water conditions are creating a good bite in the northern Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon for redfish and speckled trout over the last few days. Live shrimp seems to be the top natural bait to use for these two species at this time. We are rigging our shrimp a 1/0 or 2/0 sized VMC circle hook and prospecting sandy potholes in grassy areas or sight casting to fish we see cruising along the shorelines.
Along the beaches tripletail, pompano, crevalle jack, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and others are schooling on glass minnow pods in the Canaveral Bight. This area is protected from north and northwest winds and the fishing can be extremely good here even if the winds are blowing strong. Metal jigs, silver spoons and pilchards seem to be our most productive offerings for these fish. We currently have two 24 foot Skeeter Bay Boats and all of the equipment to take parties of 1 to 8 people out for an exciting fishing excursion while this area has a hot bite. Go to captainjimross.com to see our available dates and book your trip right on our secure interactive website.
by Capt. Jim Ross
Fine Line Fishing Charters | (321) 636-3728
Sebastian Inlet Area
Pre front, the bite was pretty good early in the week. Snook and reds were plentiful in the inlet and there were a decent number of tarpon and sharks off the beach — if you could get out and get to them.
Once the front went through and the temp dropped the bite became tough in the inlet and the lagoon. Water temps inside the lagoon were warmer than last week with 65 degrees during the middle of the week and the fish didn’t seem too mind the cooler water too much. Late week bite got better as the temps warmed up and fish became more active. Similar to last week there were plenty of trout, flounder to 5 lbs in the inlet and a few pompano inside and the Spanish Mackerel, bluefish and Jacks were thick along the beaches. We found a good number of black drum on the docks in Grant as well.
Overall, it was a good week once the temps started warming up again. We’ll have to see what the weather brings us for this upcoming week. If the winds stay down, we should have some good fishing.
by Capt. Glyn Austin
Going Coastal Charters | (321) 863-8085
Get Snooking While You Can!
The snook bite has been really good, and you better get out after it before it’s too late! The season is closed on the 15th of December — that’s just five days from now. There’s also loads of blues and Spanish mackerel on the beaches, and meanwhile, the pompano are moving in. It’s winter time for sure!
by Black Dog Bait & Tackle
Black Dog Bait & Tackle | (321) 725-1200
Canaveral Offshore & Nearshore
Once again, it was not the greatest offshore week, but we stuck nearshore all week and fished daily. Tripple tail and red drum have been plentiful. Use shrimp and squid strips for all the tripletail you want. Fish the debris fields off the port and chains. There is plenty of stuff floating around right now. It all holds fish. Use chunk bait in the bight for drum and sharks. There’s been plenty of sharks lately but nothing big — a lot of smaller ones, which are still a lot of fun for the kids. Red Drum have still been pushing 25-35lbs. Be easy with these large fish, they are all breeding right now and safe handling is a must. Good luck!
by Capt. Chris Cameron
Fired Up Charters | (407) 222-3573
Solid Trout Bite in Lagoon
The trout bite in the lagoon around the brides has been solid. We are seeing good numbers of fish being caught. Pineda Causeway is holding some really nice black drum at the moment. Down south the pompano bite has been decent. If you can get offshore between these cold fronts the bottom bite has been good. We are seeing mutton snapper, lane snapper and some decent trigger-fish being caught. The tripletail bite still seems to be good around the buoys at Port Canaveral. Long story short, there are plenty of opportunities to catch fish!
Man Overboard Bait & Tackle | (321) 777-8860
Focusing on the Hot Nearshore Bite
The nearshore bite is still hot so that’s where I’ve been focusing full attention this week! Despite some windy weather and unfavorable seas, we have still managed to get some good fishing done! Whether you’re looking for large bull redfish and sharks to tripletail and pompano, the bite remains to be pretty consistent all the way from Ponce Inlet down to Sebastian. Every drop off along the edge of the channel or trough along the beach has been full of large breeder redfish and some really good numbers of pompano which are awesome for the table!
For Bull redfish and sharks, a large bloody piece of bait such as bonito, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and large mullet have really been getting some good action. I prefer an 8 foot rod with a 6000 size spinning reel loaded with 40lb braid and 100lb stretch of fluoro carbon leader. The best rig is a flounder rig, 5 oz. lead sinker above a small barrel swivel with a piece of 100lb leader and a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook attached never fails. Personally I like to let Rodney the rod holder do the work, sometimes it takes a little while to produce a bite and you really want to keep your bait as still as possible therefore let your rod sit in the holder and wait for the bend!
The pompano bite has really been going strong! All the troughs along Cocoa Beach to Sebastian have been producing large numbers of fish. The most efficient way to catch these fish is look for cleaner good moving water while casting small pompano bucktail jigs such as the t and a pompano jig — the guys at handler fishing supply can point you in the right direction!
If you’re fishing from the beach now is for sure the time to get in on the pompano action! These fish are chewing sand fleas and peeled shrimp on a double hook pompano rig with a 3oz triangle or sputnik style sinker. If you find you’re not holding bottom adjust the weight of your sinker according to what helps hold you best! Most fish have been keepers and make for great table fare!
by Capt. Alex Hughey
All Water Adventures | (321) 222-7511
‘Tis the Season… for Pompano!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. and pompano!
As the weather and water starts to cool down with passing fronts, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get out to the beach and catch some of these wave runners! The best days to go target pompano on the Space Coast is two days before and 1-2 days after the fronts! I’m frequently asked, “what’s the best tide, Caleb?” My answer is… simply in your time at your beach and find out for yourself. Camp out all day make yourself comfortable and, most importantly… Take notes!
You’ll usually find that it’s best between coming tides wether it’s an hour before or an hour after high or low tide. Try and stick up on sand fleas and blanch them while you can! You don’t wanna be that guy that’s on the beach not catching them when they start going off! Being prepared is key to staying on top of these fish! Having a mixed assortment of live/blanched fleas, artificial baits (such as Fishbites) is also a must have! If none of these baits are catching fish in your area then move to the next good outflow!
Sometimes you gotta really put in some time to find these fish, but when you find them it’s usually a sweet sprinting race to see how many pompano you can reel in on 3 or 4 rods without either the tax man grabbing one (AKA Shark of any kind!) or simply just spit the hook! Remember these fish have a PHD in getting off the hook so reel fast and keep that rod tip up! If you do just that, then you might just fill the cooler!
Remember, whiting are very good to eat as well! Although small they are packed with tons of fat and natural flavor! I get just as excited when I catch a stud whiting as I do a stud pompano! I look forward to seeing you guys this weekend at the Fort Pierce Causeway and Boat show this Friday-Sunday! I’ll be doing a seminar on pompano fishing on both the intercostal and on the beach’s all three days. I’ll also have a booth setup where I’ll have Pompano Riggs and jigs for sale! After you see me go check out the guys from fishbites! They’ll have a booth right next to mine with “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” deals and more! Don’t miss out!
by Caleb Couture
Tradewinds Surf Fishing Charters, Pompano Riggs by Couture | (321) 271-1061
Rigging Up for the Flounder Run
For the past few weeks we have written about cooler weather and the migratory species that it brings to our coast. The talk has been largely about pompano and bluefish, which are popular targets in the surf this time of year; but, there’s more yet coming to be excited about this season, such as one of my personal favorite species: flounder.
When the weather cools this time of year, flounder begin to migrate from inter-coastal waters to their offshore breeding grounds. This migratory path takes them through our local inlets — which is precisely where we go to catch these odd-looking but delicious-tasting flatties. Sebastian Inlet, in particular, is a famed hot spot for fishing the annual migration. When the flounder start running, you may see a dozen boats anchored out there all gunning for these fish. Having the mobility of a boat is a great luxury, but plenty of anglers also do well targeting flounder from shore.
To target flounder, equip your rod with the tried and true fish finder rig. This is a very simple rig which consists of an egg sinker placed on your main line, followed by a barrel swivel. The sinker should be just heavy enough to hold bottom, which will fluctuate depending on the strength of the current. Tie on 12 to 18 inches of 30lb. mono finished off with a 1/0-2/0 j-hook. I personally prefer a short shank j-hook.
When using this rig, live bait typically works best. The two most productive baits tend to be mud minnows and small finger mullet (approximately 3 to 6 inches in size). Hook them through the lips. If you cannot find mud minnows or finger mullet, a live shrimp hooked through the tail will work, too. To help trigger a strike from these ambush predators, bump your bait across the bottom, either with the current or during retrieval.
Flounder are fun to catch and great to eat. You can take home as many as ten per day that are at least 12″ in total length — and you may even get lucky and score one of the big doormats! If you go out flounder fishing, be sure to let us know how you did. We’d love to hear about it whether you crushed it or struck out.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA
Check out what’s been caught on camera while fishing in around the Space Coast this week.