Inshore remains the best bet! What a crazy few weeks we have had! Cold and windy to hot and calm, the weather just can’t seem to make up its mind! Regardless, the nearshore fishing has been very slow, with water temps in the high 50’s to low 60’s, there hasn’t been much bait or predators. There have been a few sheepshead and pompano, which seem to like the cooler temps. With this being said, the inshore redfish and trout bite really can’t be beat. Some days we have even had as many as 50 fish, including slot redfish and gator trout, and the occasional big ugly (black drum). I have been finding most fish in the little bit deeper areas, two to three feet, whether it’s been a windblown point, edge of a grass flat, or a trough in between docks and mangroves; the depth has really been the key to my success. I noticed the manatees are finally working their way back to the flats, this typically means we won’t be seeing as much cold. With hopes of a warm up, I think we will still have pretty consistent redfish and trout fishing, the drum will more than likely slow down, and the nearshore should pick back up with catches of redfish, possible drum, and even the possibility for some tripletail.
Will it be March Fishing Madness or will we just be mad at March? Historically, this month, anglers along the Central East Coast literally set their sights on cobia. I say historically, but if we don’t see a good cobia run this March, I might be referring to it as in ancient times next year. Cobia are a very temperature-oriented fish that do not like to tolerate anything below 67 degrees or above 76 degrees with 68 to 70 being the best temperature. In the year of a polar vortex (whatever that is) it does not give me a warm feeling, nor much hope for a good cobia season. That being said, we do need something different this March compared to the last few years, so let’s try a polar vortex.
Scanning the water and straining your eyes to the limits will have many of us spending endless hours in search of the rush that is infectious once you have experienced your first successful cobia trip. Your most important tool is an accurate seawater temp gauge. You can also subscribe to real time seawater temperature charts to help you get an idea of where to start. Just be careful because things change quickly and I have seen that so-called real-time data way off the mark and has sent me chasing my tail a time or two. Most of the time, in the beginning of the season, you work south and offshore until you find 68 degrees and then start looking. Once you find your first fish, stick to that general area, because it is amazing how that half mile to mile section will be where they decide to pop that day. Cobia are not picky eaters, so a jig tipped with squid or a plain hook with a live bait will usually do the trick. Try to lead the fish and don’t hit them in the head or snag the manta ray they might be with. Later in the season you will start to broaden your search. The theory is they are migrating to the north as water temperatures become tolerable.
March can be a fantastic month and honestly it is pretty easy to figure out without even stepping foot on your boat. If you go outside and it is warm and the wind is not blowing, let it peak your interest. If you go outside a second and third day, with warm calm conditions, then gear up to go look for cobia and tripletail that afternoon. If you get into day four or five days with the same conditions, then plan an early trip and go live-bait troll the reefs or bottom fish in the morning, because the king fish and stringer fish, such as triggers and lane snappers, will be ready to let loose. In the afternoon, work back to where the water temperature just hits 68 and start looking. Remember, early in the season, for any of these game plans, your focus will be to the south and then more spread out as water temperatures climb. If it remains cold and windy save your sick days and your money and wait for April.
We hope for a great March and look forward to seeing everyone on the water.
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
There are so many great beachside residents on which to report. However, I had only to look across the office from where I sit every day to find one great American / beachside resident I am proud to report on. Being that I am the Editor-in-Chief for this rag, I have decided to take it upon myself, amidst much protest from the man himself, to bring to light someone I am proud of. He’s a moderately modest man who doesn’t often get the accolades he deserves. Outside from being my boss and friend, he is (most importantly) a decorated combat U.S. Marine veteran, and his story deserves to be heard.
So who is Mr. Beachside? Well, that’s Craig Harriman. Craig was born in Belfast, Maine. He spent the majority of his childhood riding four-wheelers, hunting, camping, fishing and exploring the great outdoors. His family owned a True Value hardware store for 20+ years, where he learned much of his work ethic. He fast-tracked through high school, graduating in just three years, followed by two years at Southern Maine Community College. In 2001 he signed up for the delayed entry program with the United States Marine Corps, with an M.O.S. of Presidential Security Forces.
On September 11, 2001, while attending college, he watched as two planes collided with the Twin Towers. Immediately, he made a willful choice to approach his recruiter and enlist. By the second day of the new year, 2002 , he was standing on the yellow footprints at Paris Island, South Carolina. After 13 weeks, he graduated from Boot Camp, and was soon after shipped to the School of Infantry where he specialized as a heavy machine gunner. After graduating the School of Infantry, he attended the Marine Corps Security Forces school where he specialized in close quarters battle (CQB). After graduation, he received his first orders to Washington State where he worked in classified operations. After two years of being an operator, Craig was promoted to Security Force Instructor where he spent a little over a year training students in CQB, physical security, and other special tactics. While at this duty station, he also received his 1st Instructor black belt in the Marine Corps Mixed Martial Arts program.
In late 2004, he received orders to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was assigned to a special unit preparing for deployment to the Iraq war. Tasked as a small unit leader for a combined anti-armor team, he specialized in transportation of high-risk personnel and high level dignitary security. He served two back-to-back tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), in addition to a classified area near Sadr City Baghdad. After the war, he received orders to Brunswick Naval Air Station where he served as an Infantry Inspector Instructor. His primary duty was to train infantry reserve units to fight in combat. His secondary duty was to serve as head of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for the state of Maine, raising money for children in need during the holiday season. He was also assigned duty as casualty notification wherein he was responsible for family notifications of killed in action (KIA) Marines or deceased Marines. Essentially, once the Marine’s body came off the plane, it was in his stewardship until it was laid to rest. He has ushered many of our fallen heroes to their final resting spots and attended many funerals.
While stationed in Maine, he received medical treatment for injuries he sustained in 2010 and was medically retired. That year, he left the state of Maine and headed to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as a federal police officer. There, he was assigned a few very prestigious special assignments. When Obama came to Kennedy Space Center in 2012, Craig was selected to drive the lead security vehicle in his convoy.
During his years at the Air Force Station, he worked many launches. He even worked special detail on the last couple shuttle launches in history. Some days he gets that far-away look on his face and regales his excitement in meeting the many astronauts and dignitaries who shook his hand over the years.
In 2012, he took over representation of The Beachside Resident syndication, where he learned his passion for storytelling and reporting. Nearly simultaneously, in 2013, he stepped into the private sector and began work renovating and revitalizing properties within the greater Cocoa Beach area. I’m often in awe of the dedication it must’ve taken to operate a publication and transition to the private arena at the same time. I’ve transitioned out of the military myself; going to the mall to buy new sneakers nearly broke me.
As though that weren’t enough, within that year, he also created the Cocoa Beach Friday Fest, which still exists today, and attended the Florida Main Street conference where he helped establish the Cocoa Beach Main Street program. Craig has served as the Marketing Director/Production Manager on local events like the Cocoa Beach Art Show, Thunder on Cocoa Beach and The Legend of the Seagullmen. Some of the events he’s partnered with are Surfing Santas, Operation Surf and Surfers for Autism. In 2017, he started the Eastern Pro/AM and served as the Executive Director for the event.
Recently he’s worked on many community revitalization projects. Craig has helped incubate over 13 local businesses within the downtown Cocoa Beach community, and is also the founder of Mai Tiki Market. This year, The Beachside Resident hosted our first annual Mai Tiki Carving Contest where we gave $5,000 in prize money to the best tiki carvers in the country.
Craig’s concept for a tiki carving contest was a hit with the community. In fact, we’ve scheduled April 20, 2019 for the second annual event, so now it’s a thing. This guy is a maverick when it comes to brainstorming and fund-raising and we couldn’t be more proud of him for the events he’s conceived of and cultivated. Not to brag, but Craig has even served as a Board of Director for a couple years on the Cocoa Beach Kiwanis Club. Last year he helped lead the charge in raising over $10,000 for the Cocoa Beach Roosevelt playground.
His passions include skateboarding, surfing, VW’s, woodworking and reggae music. He is a father of two beautiful girls. He has a gorgeous girlfriend who pierces the masses with her custom jewelry (Whitney Bailey, Endless Summer Tattoo), three dogs, three chickens, five fish and one fine pig named Hammy.
Craig is an environmentalist at heart with a goal to better our environmental guardianship. He has a great passion for the ocean, and especially our lagoon. He plans to use his platform with Beachside Media and The Beachside Resident to raise awareness about local beachside subjects that affect us all. Craig believes in our community and that ultimately, the change must start with us.