Captain Greg's Fishing Report for December 2020
Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month's Action
November gave us a whopping 5 days where it was calm enough we could get offshore. The fishing those 5 days was pretty good for just about anything we wanted to do. Mahi, black fin tuna and sailfish were scattered but definitely a good number of them around. Bottom fishing was very good for stringer fish such as vermillion snapper and pink porgies in the deeper water and the mangroves and muttons were decent in 100ft or less with a lot of short cobia being caught off the bottom while targeting the snapper species. Deep drop fishing for golden tilefish was pretty good the couple days we tried it but we had to move around a lot to find a colony of fish. King mackerel started to show the last few days but the water clarity wasn’t quite good enough yet to make for a good bite. Near shore fishing was phenomenal for big red drum and small black tip sharks.
December Near Shore Fishing Forecast
Expect some phenomenal fishing opportunities this month. Big red drum will remain the best bet species for those who are in it for the thrill of the fight. 40lb spinning outfit rigged with a 6/0 circle hook and a small 1/2 ounce egg sinker set up knocker rig style with a mullet head or pogy head will be the bait of choice. Don’t forget to step on the head before throwing it out to soak, this is a old trick of the trade but a good one to get all those oils into the water helping the fish hone in on your bait. You can also add a stretch of #6 to #8 wire if you want to catch the small black tip sharks that are abundant this time of year. Probably one of the most underrated food value fish we have a absolute plethora of are small coastal sharks such as black tips, spinners and fine tooth sharks. Inside of 3 miles we are allowed to keep 2 sharks per boat. A lot of people thing the best way to do shark is to steak it but I can’t disagree more. Fillet it just like any other fish and be sure to keep your knife off the skin when removing the fillet from the skin. You do not want the red meat tight to the skin. You will end up with 2 white firm fillets that are ready to go and are just as good to eat as most of all the other fish out there.
Fishing the surf and jetties should be game on now that we have had our first real cold snap. The cold will trigger the pompano bite and great days can be had fishing a traditional pompano rig using sand fleas, shrimp and clams. In addition to pompano you will catch whiting, sheep head and black drum. Using pompano jigs and casting small spinning rod set ups can really be a fun day for those that like to fish a more active approach than letting natural baits soak and wait. The jigs are very effective but do limit you on some of the other bonus species you catch while using natural baits. We have a lot of near shore targets this month such as snook, flounder and triple tail that require a little know how and stealth and when fishing near shore this month no matter what you are targeting you better have a jig or a pitch bait ready for when that fat cobia makes a surprise appearance.
November Offshore Fishing Forecast
It has been a very long couple of months waiting for Decembers and all the great fishing opportunities it provides. King Mackerel, King Mackerel, King Mackerel – King fishing is here and I absolutely cannot stress enough or explain it better than the fact of the matter is that when the king is happy, everything is happy. If my reports have no other result than converting 1 person to understand that king fishing is more than just catching king fish then my job is done. First off king mackerel are fantastic eating fresh and phenomenal smoked for putting fish away but the act of king fishing is what provides the opportunity at all the other species in the mix. Think about what is happening and why when all these king mackerel get stacked up in a area. You have the 3 things you need for great fishing is why – clarity, temperature and bait. Everything likes these 3 things so everything is going to be there it just so happens that the kings are the most aggressive and abundant. A common day of December king fishing often goes like this – king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, cobia, cobia, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, king, black fin tuna, king, king, king, king, king, king, mahi, mahi, king, king, king, king, sailfish. I can’t tell you how many times a captain has come back to the dock and their charter looks at another charters catch and says “Oh wow they caught a couple nice cobia, mahi and tuna” They don’t even see the limit of king mackerel and wonder why they ended up with 1 grouper and a amberjack. The captain then explains to them that they said they don’t want king fish and that out of the 6 grouper bites they had that they only got 2 of them turned and out of those 2, 1 of them got ate by a shark and out of the 10 amberjack bites they had, all but 1 got ate by a shark. Folk’s king mackerel are a fun fighting, great eating fish but king fishing is really everything that swims fishing so please try to wrap your head around that so you can consistently end up with phenomenal catches.
Now that I got the king fish thing out of the way, we do have good bottom fishing opportunities this month. Grouper fishing is good this month but you have to be realistic. 10 grouper bites in a day is phenomenal here in our area because all of our grouper are big gag grouper for the most part. Out of 10 bites if you get 5 of them turned out of the bottom that is good. Out of those 5 if 2 of them don’t get ate by sharks that is good. Meaning if at the end of the day you have 2 grouper you had a good day of grouper fishing. Vermillion snapper, porgies and triggerfish are a sure fire way to enjoy the fast hands on action of bottom fishing while getting good fish for the dinner table. When fishing for stringer fish you either play a numbers game and weed through the red snapper or you deal with the current and try to fish deep where there are less red snapper.
December is a fantastic month, typically you don’t see the long stretches of wind and seas normally stay under 6 ft so you don’t get that huge swell that wrecks the water clarity. We might have to fish a lot of days that are 3ft to 4ft but it usually pays off and with any luck Santa will bring us flat calm seas the week before and after Christmas.
About Captain Greg's Reports and Forecast
Captain Greg has been fishing the waters of Port Canaveral and the Atlantic for over 30 years. He has the largest and most highly rated private charter business in Port Canaveral, Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters. Greg and his team of full time captains fish well over 200 days each per year. We have kept detailed catch history for every trip ran since 2010. You can access this history at www.sealeveler.com/reports. His engineer wife, Amber, has analyzed the catch history along with other historical data such as water temperature and weather patterns. Greg uses his fishing experience and knowledge along with his wife’s statistical analysis to bring you the best fishing report available for Port Canaveral. Greg will give you the honest truth on how the fishing has been along with his best prediction of what to expect by using all of this information.