Fishing Report For July 2019 Covering Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando
Last Month’s Action
Last month was a bit of a rollercoaster ride with epic fishing to kick the month off, a lull in the middle and right back on top to end the month. It seemed like you could have shot a spitball at the plotter and as long as it landed inside of 100 ft of water you could stop the boat and catch fish. King mackerel, cobia, dolphin fish, mangroves, sail fish, sharks, cudas, bonito, jack crevalle. This was absolutely epic summertime fishing. As the month rolled on we did see a drastic decline of the bottom fishing. Slow bottom fishing in the summer typically coincides with thermo-cline conditions. It was also getting a little difficult to track down the kings toward the middle of the month with some unexpected dirty water. It was definitely a very strange turn without having any major storms or sea conditions. The lull only lasted a week or so and we ended the month back on top with clean water and fantastic fishing very close in.
July Near Shore Fishing Forecast
For those of us that are a little older the question at one time was “Where’s the beef?” The question right now is “Where’s the bait?” Historically we should be covered up by now in pogy pods, scaly minnow and thread fin schools up and down the beach out to the shoal and inside the port. Right now we literally have one large school of pogies inside the port that have taken a beating for a straight month and a sparse amount of threadfins on the outside of the shipping channel. My only guess is that the bottom is cold but not cold enough that it has pushed the bait our way. If that is not the problem then we unfortunately have something more sinister at work such as nonstop dredging, cruise ships, beach restoration, etc, but I really hope they are just going to show up late or this is a off year.
All that being said the fishing near shore is fantastic when you can catch the bait. The buoy line holds the keys to the kingdom right now but I have to acknowledge the changes that I see, even if for no other reason than at very least it gets documented on this report. The buoy line out of Port Canaveral holds the keys to the kingdom but where did all the big fish go? Summertime live bait trolling for king mackerel was known for smoker king fish. Every fish was 20 lbs or better but now we mainly just see 5 to 12 lb fish. I am happy to see a lot of them but something is off. Where are all the cobia? Are they hiding somewhere with the bait or are they also gone?
Enough of that pessimism and optimism, no one is here to read about my worries so let’s talk about the good things to expect and how we go about catching them. I haven’t seen it in at least 10 years or so but we have king mackerel inside the port. A few big ones and I am assuming they are following the one giant school of pogies they can find leading them into both the middle and back turning basins. The key to catching these fish is bait and patience. Get up early and put a net on those pogies or troll some spoons along the beach and bring a couple blue fish back into the port for bait. This is a real treat and might not ever happen again. It just might be cool to tell your grandkids one day as you are standing at the top of a 20 story cruise ship, point down and say ” I caught a 30 pound king fish their once”.
All the live bait trolling action you could ever want just outside the buoy line with kings, bonitos, jack crevalle, sharks and barracudas.
Tarpon are along the beach in a big way but right this minute it is very tough to match the hatch. I can only assume they are dialed into glass minnows because I have put live pogies and threadfins across hundred of them and not a sniff. I’m no fly fisherman but this might be a great opportunity for those that are. If you don’t have your own boat then I suggest getting hooked up with Captain Alex Hughey of All Water Adventures. These tarpon will turn on to pogies eventually but probably not until they show along the beach.
Shark fishing will be really good with a lot of black nose sharks, black tips and all different size hammerheads being caught. Hammerhead is a super cool shark to catch but don’t forget the rules and be sure to leave them in the water for the photos.
July Offshore Fishing Forecast
This month the near shore forecast is the offshore forecast because that is where the action is. This has to be said for those who are taking their families on a fishing charter for Summer vacation or taking them out on their personal boat. I see this a lot where a group decides to charter and that one guy ruins it for everyone. He is known as “That Man” Don’t be that man, no one likes that man and he really brings down what could be a wonderful day. No matter how hardcore you think you are and how much you think you know or how many you use to catch and you only want to catch the so called more desirable species such as grouper, mahi, wahoo. It’s over, gone and finished. It is especially over in the summer. This time of year it HAS to be about calm oceans and fun fast action fishing. If you don’t enjoy watching a king mackerel leap 10 ft in the air as it strikes your bait or the power and explosion of a jack crevalle , the thrill of fighting a shark or excitement of throwing a bait into a school of bonito then don’t fish out of Canaveral. Maybe even give up fishing all together and just go grocery shopping. We are all about the fun and keeping it exciting for everyone. We absolutely love taking families, friends, tourist and locals that just love to be on the water and catching cool fish. Don’t get me wrong! I love a good mahi run or to pull on groupers and sight fish cobia. All that is awesome for sure but don’t get caught up in just that. Like what is biting and have fun on the water. This is what we like to do here at Sea Leveler. We like to have fun and just enjoy the day showing great people great fishing. We will fish for all species just be sure you have realistic expectations for yourself and your friends and family. Make sure everyone is on the same page on a charter or on a personal boat.
Now let’s talk about the 5 day red snapper season or 5 day red snapper joke. Catching them should be easy with such few days. Trust your bottom machine and if the 5 days manages to fall on a full on thermo cline then you need to be the first to big structure. Lighten up and float down into the suspended fish. Hopefully they will be biting on the bottom. If the bottom bite turns back on then use large baits. The bigger bait will result in a larger snapper allowing you to make the most of your 1 fish. In addition a large bait might just also score you a fat grouper and that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
We look forward to calm seas and great action this July!
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
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 Capt. Rapp. Captain Greg’s Space Coast Fishing Report for May 2019 – Capt Gregg’s Port Canaveral March Fishing Forecast