Captain Greg's Fishing Report for May 2018
Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month's Action
April was yet another month almost completely plagued with high winds and rough seas. We kept grinding away near shore with only moderate success. Very rough seas and very few spots to hide. The opportunity to have great fishing is out their if we can get to it. The small handful of somewhat calm days had great action. The king mackerel bite was decent and the bottom fishing showed great promise. We always have red snapper but some very nice grouper were also caught and the Ocean Obsession party boat was doing very well on mangrove snapper.
May Near Shore Fishing Forecast
Right now it doesn’t seem we have much happening in the way of bigger fish near shore. It has been extremely rough, not much bait and no real signs of activity. Historically May has always been a bit of a bust for catching much of anything inside of 10 miles. The sharks are very hit and miss, tarpon, cobia and triple tail seem to disappear and the smaller table fare fish such as pompino, sheephead and whiting seem to slow way down as well. To me it kind of looks like it will be shaping up to be slow fishing inside of 10 miles. However toward the end of the month we should start seeing the big goliath groupers along the near shore structure and big lemon sharks, black tips should also make appearance in the shallows.
May Offshore Fishing Forecast
I believe everything has to come to a boiling point this month. We have had no cobia run this year, so far no mahi run, not many grouper or amberjacks. It either has to give this month or we pack up and start over in 2019. It has just been too hard for too long for the fishing not to be fantastic this month.
Grouper open up in May and everyone is excited so let’s take some time to talk about grouper. The grouper fishing just might be better than we have seen in quite some time. With the weather and seasonal closure the groupers have not seen any recreational or commercial pressure since August 2017.
You need big live baits and they are hard to come by. Unless by some miracle you find yourself with a live well with 100 jumbo pin fish staring you in the face you need to get out of the red snapper zones. This is no easy task because they are everywhere. Out of Canaveral I suggest concentrating your efforts in 160ft and deeper or run as far South as you can. It seems the further South you go the fewer the red snapper.
Use big gear to make your shots count. This is not Gulf side grouper fishing! Your 50lb test will not work and you’re not going to get 30 shots in a day to get lucky until it does work. You need to be using big gear to match your big baits because these are big fish. Let me explain what a good bite of grouper consist of in the waters offshore of Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach area. If you get 10 grouper bites in a day of fishing that is really good. Not 10 bites per person but 10 per boat. If you are familiar and good at grouper fishing. Out of these 10 bites you should be able to beat at least 5 of these fish. This means not missing the bite and then properly working the mechanics of a heavy duty rod and reel while being physically strong enough to turn these fish before they bust you off. Pure strength does not catch these fish if you don’t know the mechanics of making that handle go in a circle to put line on the reel.
Out of the 5 fish you beat it is a high probability that half of them will be eaten by sandbar sharks. So at the end of the day if the boat you are fishing on has between 2 and 4 grouper you were on a phenomenal grouper bite. Now keep in mind that our average grouper is 20 to 25lbs so 2 Atlantic grouper beat 6 Gulf side grouper most of the time.
If the East wind continues we should see a decent mahi bite. The big fish will be first to show, following the clean water and bait being pushed to this side of the Gulf Stream. The smaller fish will indicate the end of the run and with it being late my guess will be a very short season. We should also see some sail fish, black fin tuna and wahoo in the mix. Don’t ride past the fish. When you find clean water and flying fish deploy your spread because that is where the fish will be. If the wind continues it will have the weeds very scattered so finding good weed lines will be tough to come by.
Offshore fishing this May will be good when you can get out because it really has no other option. When the seas calm you need to jump on your boat, a friends boat or charter a boat because my guess is that it is going to be very good.
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.