Captain Greg's Fishing Report for May 2017
Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month's Action
Forget April showers, we just kept March wind and it made most days a challenge to say the least. Near shore I was hoping the fishing would remain good. It was better than most Aprils but unfortunately fishing did slow down toward the latter part of the month. On a positive note, we had our best month on big goliath groupers. We are seeing them everywhere even at the marina so we look forward to catching more of those behemoths. Offshore, the mahi did show up and some very nice fish were caught. Unfortunately, we missed a solid week or so of the run due to weather and overall the run was nowhere near what it was in 2016 . The fishing was different everyday but on most of our full day trips we did very well having enough time to adjust fishing styles or location. Amberjack, mahi, king mackerel all cooperated pretty well. The big sandbar sharks were relentless eating a lot of our amberjack but they are always a blast to catch. The red snapper were also a blast for those wanting instant bites and great pictures but like always it is catch and release only.
May Near Shore Fishing Forecast
May can be fun working light tackle using live shrimp near all structure to target mangrove snapper, snook and sheep head along with the occasional pompano, black drum and flounder. For those looking for bigger options in close we can have some luck on big black tip and spinner sharks along with residential big bull red drum and goliath groupers. It will not be fast and furious but with some time a handful of nice fish should be caught. When looking at the big picture May is overall a pretty slow month for near shore action.
May Offshore Fishing Forecast
May use to be one of our best months, but unfortunately, I am just not feeling warm and fuzzy this year. Let me start with what will be both productive and fun. Live bait trolling will hands down be the best game in town. King fish, dolphin fish, cobia, sail fish, wahoo, bonito barracuda, sharks, snappers and black fin tuna will create a great mixed bag. Yes, the king mackerel will be dominant and everything else will be one here and their but you absolutely can’t beat the action and variety of live bait trolling. Live bait troll everything reefs, wrecks, rips, bait balls between 50 ft and 120 ft if water is clean green to blue.
Amber jacks, almaco jacks and banded rudder jacks will be on fire and are the most underrated class of fish for the dinner table. In my opinion cranking on a few big amberjack is always worth the time. I just wish the sandbar sharks would go away and not eat more than half of the ones we hook.
Chicken rig fishing will be absolutely awesome! You can do this on any spot and will end up with a great catch of trigger fish, sea bass, porgy’s, lane and vermilion snapper. You will need to try to find spots that are not absolutely loaded with red snapper so avoid shallow reefs to the north and focus along South Pelican or deep water 160ft to 260 ft if current is not too bad. In addition this is a great way to test spots. If you are pulling up stringer fish then odds are a big gag grouper may be lurking.
You can still have a few good days on mahi but this is only going to happen when absolutely everything aligns to create the perfect mahi cocktail. Meaning you will need, temp, current, clean water, weeds and bait. It will take it all to have any real success. I believe patterns are changing and April is now the mahi month. Speaking of cocktails, those willing to put in the time and randomly troll wherever you find cobalt blue water will put decent catches together with the occasional wahoo, black fin, sail fish and mahi. You will just need that cocktail to pass the time because bites will be few and far between.
I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer but I will always tell it how it is so let’s talk about grouper fishing. Grouper fishing out of Canaveral and surrounding area is a thing of the past. We have a handful around January through April but they are gone by May when we can keep them. The groupers that congregate on wrecks 170 ft or less are all commercially and recreationally shot in a matter of days so you have no chance at those. Your only shot is hitting spot after spot but the red snapper are so thick you can’t get past them plus the groupers are not staying here to compete with the snapper over food. You stand a chance at a few grey grouper in the deep 200ft or more. Most divers can’t reach that depth but you will battle the current and if you do get one it is a very good chance a sandbar shark will eat it on the way up. Scamp and red groupers are all gone from this area so until we have better fishery management grouper fishing is truly over. If you want grouper I highly suggest the West Coast.
Red snapper and big sandbar sharks are super abundant and always ready to give a fight. Those truly out to just have nonstop action can always target or ask to target these species and it is guaranteed action.
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.