What an incredible month of fishing! We have really been experiencing some changes in the weather the last month or so and it’s really been improving the fishing. With the slightly cooler weather, we have finally got the trout bite to turn on as expected, and it should hopefully do nothing but get better. Large trout, or gator trout as some might call it, have been roaming the flats of the North Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon in every area that has a substantial amount of sea grass. The best way to approach these areas are to slowly push pole and cast artificial baits such as a Gulp shrimp or weedless jerk-bait in pearl white or camo colors. The redfish bite has slowed some but there are still a few hanging around shallow-water sandbar edges; a small piece of cut mullet simply can’t be beat. Anglers looking for a tough battle can find plenty of large black drum on most docks and bridges along the entire Indian River. The best bait for these fish has been half a blue crab, or a dead stinky shrimp! Don’t be scared to leave your bait in the sun for a while to get a little added funk! The black drum do not mind one bit, and often it can get you an extra bite or two at the end of the day. The next month should continue to get better, especially if we see some more cool weather. I really encourage catch and release for future generations; let’s do our part today, for a more plentiful tomorrow.
Captain Alex Hughey – All Water Adventures
Wow, 2019 is off to an epic start! This was the best January we have seen in a very long time and I would love to see this action carry into February. Truth be told, February is my least favorite month of the year for fishing, but as I write this report, kingfish up to 55 lb, cobia to 60 lb, wahoo to 80 lb and blackfin tuna to 25 lb have all hit the dock, in addition to several sailfish releases. So, I remain hopeful this February will be one for the record books!
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 five pound box of squid, five pound box of sardines or cigar minnows, a dozen live pinfish 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 structures between 160 and 220 feet 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 triggerfish. You will also score the occasional lane snapper, porgy, yellowtail snapper and seabass. You will also catch a lot of red snapper. I am 100% sure you will catch your biggest grouper ever on a chicken rig with a piece of squid because that is just what happens when they are out of season. While bouncing from spot to spot, watch the upper column of your bottom machine. If you get markings 50 feet 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 cleaned. 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 an extra 30 minutes, to an 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 for you to 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 tripletail. It’s also very possible that you have clean water on the shallower reefs you cross and you see kings skyrocketing, blackfin tuna busting and sails spraying. It is also very possible you cross a hard current edge in 140 to 200 feet and you can pick a nice day of a few mahi, and the occasional wahoo or blackfin tuna and sailfish.
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. Maybe, just maybe , January’s fishing will carry over and we all just cast net pogies, ride to 100 feet and catch giant kingfish, cobia, wahoo, tuna and sailfish; then meet back at the dock and say “easy day kid, easy day.”
Captain Greg Rapp – All Water Adventures
All Water Adventures, located at Sunrise Marina behind Grills in Port Canaveral, offers the full spectrum of on-the-water activities. Each trip is run by full time guides of our family owned businesses. They have a love and passion for the area and what they do. If you want to get on the water for some fishing or just relaxing, then give them a shout. 321-222-7511 www.AllWaterAdventures.com