Canaveral Charter Captains' Association - Florida fishing guides and charter boats...

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Fishing Methods

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Offshore Conditions


Offshore and inshore fishing on Florida's Space Coast and the Indian River Lagoon...

Fishing Methods

  • Offshore Trolling - The fertile waters lapping the coast of east central Florida are teeming with many diverse types of game fish and sea life. Trolling is an effective and popular method of catching many of the resident and seasonal pelagic fish. The warm, northward-flowing Gulf Stream is normally found approximately twenty miles from land and its fluid boundaries are often the haunts of dolphin, wahoo, sailfish, and marlin. However, one need not be in the Gulf Stream to catch fish. Most species come inshore to feed on the many different kinds of bait that gather over natural bottom contours and wrecks. Kingfish, blackfin tuna, cobia, barracuda, and little tunny are also frequently caught while trolling and give variety to a day's action. Trolling methods vary as much as the fish to be caught. Captains pull dead baits such as ballyhoo, mullet, and bonita strips. Alone or in combination with lures and skirts, these dead baits are resurrected to swim again. Artificial lures and spoons are also trolled and are an effective way to cover more ground if the fish are spread out. An additional treat to trolling offshore is that it gives you the opportunity to view marine life in its natural habitat. Frequently, sea turtles and porpoises are seen and occasionally whales are spotted too.

  • Live Baiting - Live baiting is an excellent and popular method of trolling for kingfish, cobia, dolphin, tarpon, sailfish, and the occasional giant wahoo. Boats catch their live bait along the beach and near shore waters. The baits consist of mullet, pogies, and greenies. Pogies or menhaden are the most commonly caught bait. They are cast netted from large schools, which congregate in 6 to 30 feet of water along the coast. Live bait trolling is done near shore as well as offshore. The baits are trolled as slow as possible on light wire. There is nothing like seeing your bait get nervous and then get blasted from below.

  • Bottom Fishing - The continental shelf tapers slowly along Florida's east coast, which means a lot of area and structures to bottom fish. Local knowledge is key! Year round bottom fishing can be good for grouper, snapper, cobia, and many other tasty species. It is possible to catch gag, red, warsaw, snowy, kitty mitchell, and black groupers. The snappers consist of red, mangrove, mutton, lane, and the occasional yellowtail. Amberjack, African pompano, and cobia also hang on local structures looking for an easy meal. The incredible variety and the mystery of what each drop may hold make bottom fishing exciting.

  • "The Other Side"/Bahamas - Want something really different? Challenge the yellowfin tuna on the "Other Side", often referred to when fishing 65 to 100 miles offshore on the east side of the Gulf Stream. In addition to yellowfin 40-100 lbs., often marlin, sailfish, dolphin, and wahoo are also caught. Several boats are equipped with extra powerful radar needed to detect birds feeding over schools of tuna.

  • Try This! - Combine a trip to the "Other Side" with a two or three night stay in Walkers Cay, Bahamas. Enter a world of glowing blue waters, teeming coral reefs, incredible fishing, and friendly people. This tropical paradise is well within your reach. Troll the deep indigo waters for giant marlin, dolphin, wahoo, tuna, and more. Probe the reefs and walls with a jig and play tug-o-war with giant groupers and tasty snappers.