Captain Greg's Fishing Report for January 2017
Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month's Action
December did not disappoint! Near shore, the big bull red drums continued to fire. I can’t believe they have given us 3 solid months of steady action. The sharks were hit and miss, but overall it has been one of the best Decembers for shark fishing that I can ever remember. Some nice pan fish such as whiting and sheep head were abundant. And for those crafty enough the triple tail bite was decent. Offshore the king mackerel fishing was epic and all the good stuff that is mixed in made appearances. Sail fish, wahoo, cobia, black fin tuna and mahi. The big sandbar sharks and hammerheads were mixed in also.
January's Near Shore Fishing Forecast
Unfortunately we will see a decline in the big red drum and sharks that have been keeping us busy. The cold fronts will be more frequent and more intense and this will slow the fishery down. However, we will see a few stick around into February. I recently have been exploring the possibility that these reds and sharks don’t really leave and they might just spread out and be randomly a little deeper than where we normally target them. I will scout this out over the next month or so. The sheepshead, whiting, black drum and pompano should provide some great action. Small live shrimp will be the all around go to bait so don’t waste money buying the handpicks. Tripletail fishing will be productive but I swear they have been unbelievably finicky here recently so make long casts and have a variety of bait to throw at them. The coolest shark IMO to catch is the sand tiger and now through March is a great time to target them. No I don’t think we will catch a lot of them or a lot of sharks but it is a good time to have the opportunity to check a sand tiger off the list.
January's Offshore Fishing Forecast
Slow trolling or live bait trolling is where it is at! The kings will remain strong. The only downtime will be immediately after fronts that bring large sea conditions. Even if this happens the kings will be there, we will just have to find them in water clarity clean enough for them to bite in. I always say and will always continue to believe that good things await mixed in with the huge schools of kings. Expect to find a few jumbo size black fin tuna, sail fish, wahoo, cobia and occasional mahi among the schools of king mackerel. Big sandbar and hammerhead sharks are in these schools of king fish every time, so if you want a fight just let your captain know or prepare yourself a heavy rod and drop a big chunk of bait. You can increase your odds at the other species of pelagic by picking up the pace and trolling strip baits and ballyhoo starting just outside of the king fish. I really think the best bet is sticking tight in the schools with the slow trolling but if you get tired of releasing kings then move just offshore of the kings. I suggest making 20ft jumps by depth not distance and give each area 30 minutes before making another jump. Here comes the cold hard truth about bottom fishing! We are going to have to accept this fact and take it for what it is then make the best of it. January and just about every month of the year has phenomenal action bottom fishing. We can usually catch snappers until your arms fall off. We can most of the time find amberjacks that will try to yank your arms off and when the grouper season is closed January through April they will also be ready to abuse your arms. We can’t keep any of them. This is the first year they have ever closed amberjack recreationally. This is where making the best of it comes in to play. We have to realize we are out there to have fun and make memories. If our only GOAL is to FILL a freezer the money whether you charter or take your own boat is better spent at the grocery store. These fish make beautiful pictures and beautiful mounts. The action is great and it’s just plain fun to test your muscle against some of the most powerful fish in the ocean. You may get lucky and find a couple keeper sea bass, trigger fish, lane snapper and vermilion snapper for those willing to weed through the red snapper using what we call a chicken rig. Both recreational and commercial fisherman are being affected by poor fisheries management. Somehow we need to come together and demand a fair sustainable fishery’s management plan. This is outside of fishing report realm so I will just leave it at that :).
Happy New Year and I look forward to some great fishing in 2017!
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.