Space Coast Fishing Report For January 2020 Covering Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month’s Action
December shot out of the gate hot and it was a absolute fishing paradise for the first 2 weeks. Both near shore & offshore the action was phenomenal. There was not a species native to our waters that we weren’t catching. Unfortunately about midway through the month the wind started blowing and the seas never let up again. Our only saving grace were the big red drum that settle in just outside the port this time of year and some really cool sharks or the last few weeks would have been a total shutdown for us.
January Near Shore Fishing Forecast
Targeting the big red drum and sharks will be the sure fire safe bet to bend rods while waiting we wait for the water to clarity to get better. Triple tail fishing will be fantastic and it will pay to be the first one out to fish the buoy line in-between the blows because they will stack up without having much fishing pressure. Calmer seas and better water clarity is all it will take for the pompano fishing to break wide open. Your basic pompano rig using sand fleas and cut clams will be the ticket to success. We will have plenty of opportunity from a wide variety of species this month. We just need a little help from mother nature to calm down a little for us.
January Offshore Fishing Forecast
We will still have all the great fishing opportunities this month as we did in December so please refer back to the December report for that information. The only thing different from last month is that groupers are closed off until May but in return some fantastic deep dropping opportunity for Tile Fish, Snowy & Yellowedge grouper have opened up. I want to change it up a bit in focus in on a very underrated but phenomenal fishery we have right here in our backyard. Sailfish! I know everyone is setting goals for the new year and I bet catching their first sailfish is a goal for many anglers. January is a great time to target sailfish out of Canaveral and our fishery for them can be nothing short of world class. Our water temperature rarely dips below or exceeds what sailfish can tolerate so the key to narrowing your search will be to find the bait they are feeding on. Flying fish are for sure the easiest to spot but you will also find sail fish in the same area where the king mackerel are feeding heavy on suspended bait fish or color changes and current edges that always hold a variety of bait fish. Water clarity needs to be anywhere from a clean green to cobalt blue and in addition to bait fish you have other indicators that will also help narrow your search for sailfish. Always be sure to keep a look out for free jumping sailfish because they are very common to see if you keep your eyes scanning the horizon. Schools of bonito, working birds and seaweed in small or large amounts as long as it is in a formed up line.
Once you have located a area that looks promising you will need to deploy your trolling spread. Teasers and dredges are your very best friend when it comes to catching sail fish. You can keep it as simple as you want or you can get elaborate, however you absolutely need to be pulling something that draws attention. Truth be told the more elaborate you go the better your odds at raising sailfish. You have many options to choose from when it comes to teasers and dredges, so do a little research and experiment with different options. Natural bait will always outperform artificial in my opinion but rigging a dredge sucks so don’t suck all the fun out of it by going that route until you reach a level where you are trying to record a serious number of sail releases. Starting out I suggest artificial teasers and dredges to get your first sailfish release under your belt and to keep the frustration level down.
All of your actual trolling baits should be small ballyhoo rigged naked with mono. The one exception is the bait being pulled from the up wind side of your out rigger. This bait will need some sort of skirt to add a little weight so everything tracks correctly. Remember this is strictly to increase your odds at sailfish. Lever drag reels are preferred so you can set the drag just right so that while you are trolling no line lets out except when you get a hit or snag grass then the bait falls back easily. The reason for this is most the time sailfish will hit the bait with their bill and the bait drops back into their mouth. You might drop and reel back a ballyhoo several times on a strike in your attempt to hook up a sail. You will also pick up the occasional mahi or black fin tuna while doing this style of fishing. If you are continuously getting clipped off from king mackerel you need to position yourself a little further offshore the reef until you start getting less king fish strikes. You also have the option to run a wire rigged select ballyhoo on a planar or downrigger for that occasional shot at a wahoo but if sailfish is the main goal I would leave the wire and downriggers in the boat.
We look forward to another great year of fishing and hope everyone makes it a priority to spend more time on the water.
Let’s see who is reading this to the end 😉 Tag a friend you want to take sail fishing with you and win a free sailfish trip with Captain Steve Knowles aboard the Sea’s The Day on January 28th. I will do a live drawing on January 10th to announce the winner so be ready if you enter. Those who comment on this post will get entered twice.
We are ready to catch some awesome fish in 2020.
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.
Check out previous fishing reports by Captain Greg Rapp – Captain Greg’s Space Coast Fishing Report for December 2019