Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month’s Action
2019 shot out of the gate and it looked like it was going to set the tone for a fantastic year but unfortunately toward the end of the month the wheels fell off and Winter came. Honestly in the first half of the month everything was good. Epic king mackerel fishing, unmatched cobia and triple tail fishing, record numbers of sail fish and all the sharks and pompano you wanted to catch along the beach.
February Near Shore Fishing Forecast
I want to be positive and I am digging deep to find inspiration because the cold North Wind, rough seas and chilly water temperatures are making it tough. It is not the coldest weather we have ever had but historical water temperature shows our water right now being colder than most years. I do see some hope in the extended forecast with calm seas and warmer temperatures. All we need is a few consecutive days of good weather and it will be just like this past week or so never happened. The pompano will leave the sub base and be free for everyone to catch. The triple tail will magically show up like nothing ever happened. The bait pods will arrive with a few sharks, red drum and cobia in the mix and the epic school of black drum will show up for everyone to fly drones and film tv shows to get that atta boy we all want to hear in February. No one pinch me because I don’t want to wake up and that is exactly how it is going to happen.
February Offshore Fishing Forecast
Historically we have to work hard for our fish this month and I typically find myself switching things up a bit from my typical go to of live bait trolling. Leaving the dock I arm myself with a 5lb box of squid, 5lb box of sardines or cigar minnows, dozen live pin fish or heavy vertical jigs, and a dozen ballyhoo. This ammo will allow me to be ready for any available opportunity that comes my way.
I have my sights set on my favorite bottom structure between 160 and 220 ft with a day of chicken rig fishing in mind. This time of year you can usually put a great day together with nice vermillion snappers and trigger fish. You will also score the occasional lane snapper, porgy, yellow tail snapper and sea bass. You will also catch a lot of red snapper and I am quite certain you will catch your biggest grouper ever on a chicken rig with a piece of squid because that is just how it goes down when they are closed off. While bouncing from spot to spot watch the upper column of your bottom machine. If you get markings 50ft or more above the structure there is a good chance you have found amberjack and almaco jacks that are both fun to catch and tasty to eat when properly iced and fillet. This is when you deploy your live baits or vertical jigs. Most days I find myself sticking to this game plan to provide a lot of action and some good table fare. I always leave a extra 30 minutes to a hour on the ride home just in case I stumble into that line of rays or color change holding cobia. I also like to high speed troll on my way out on those choppy days that slow me down or even rig a few ballyhoo with sea witches or islanders and troll out if it is really rough and I have to slow way down. No one is ever disappointed with a bonus wahoo to start off the day.
Like I said “that’s the game plan” but I am always ready to change it up when better opportunities present themselves. It is very possible you find a color change and scattered weed just outside any of the shoals or just inside the reefs and you put a great day together sight fishing cobia and triple tail. Very possible to have clean water on the shallower reefs and see kings skyrocketing, black fin tuna busting and sails spraying. It is also very possible you cross a hard current edge in 140 to 200 ft and pick a few mahi, and the occasional wahoo or black fin tuna.
Point being February can and will challenge you. Just make sure you are prepared to seize any opportunity sent your way and you will have a productive day on the water.
Captain Greg Rapp – Sealeveler Sport Fishing Charters
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, Florida. Greg and his team of full time captains fish well over 200 days each per year. They keep a 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.
Capt. Gregg Rapp
Sealeveler Fishing Charters
Port Canaveral, Florida
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