Inshore Fishing

By Captain Alex Hughey

Changing things up a bit! What a great month of fishing! From tripletail and bull redfish nearshore, to skinny-water tailing redfish and trout in the flats, we have seen some good variety this month!
The weather is finally starting to get into a wintertime pattern; cool temperatures with breezy north and westerly winds. With this being said, the next month or so at least I’ll be focusing more of my fishing inshore! The snook bite has slowed consistently but there are still some to be caught around our inlets and passes all the way from Ponce to Sebastian.
Smaller live baits have been the ticket; anything from greenies and pogies when available to pins and pigfish – the smaller the better! I’ll be focusing more of my fishing towards the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. The cooler weather has really turned the trout bite on as expected! Some days average 20 to 30 fish of all sizes from 15- to 25-inches. Most fish are being caught around deeper troughs and grass flats in the 3- to 5-foot range! Live shrimp on a popping cork or an 1/8 oz Mission Fish’n jig-head with a Gulp Shrimp is a deadly combo this time of year.
Subsequently, the redfish bite has picked up as well! Most fish have been chewing a bit better with the cooler weather a little later in the day. I’m starting my trips around 9 o’clock, if not a little later, and really taking advantage of the afternoon bite. These fish have been responding well to small Gulp Shrimp and weedless jerk-baits, in pearl white, bounced slowly off the bottom. The north end of Mosquito Lagoon has been the best bet – most fish are between 15- and 30-inches. As usual with the river, try to catch and release for future generations!

Captain Alex Hughey

Offshore Fishing
By Captain Greg Rapp

December’s cold fronts kept us shut down from offshore fishing a good part of the month but in between fronts, we did have few great days. Enough already with 2018 – let’s focus on all the cool stuff we will catch in 2019. You may be saying to yourself by now, “This guy is going to tell us live bait trolling is where it is at!” You would be correct! Slow trolling or live bait trolling is where it is at! The kings will remain strong. The only downtime will be immediately after fronts that bring large sea conditions. If January 2019 is like 2018, we will all just sit on our couch, drink discounted spiked eggnog to stay warm and watch the wind blow. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Even if this is the case, the kings will be there – we will just have to find water clear enough for them to bite or wait until Mother Ocean cleans up her act. I always say and will always believe that other good fish are often mixed in with the huge schools of kings. Expect to find a few jumbo-sized blackfin tuna, sailfish, wahoo, cobia and occasional mahi amongst the mackerel. Big sandbar and hammerhead sharks are in these

big schools every time, so if you want a fight just let your captain know or prepare yourself a heavy rod and drop a big chunk of bait and wait. If you want to increase your odds at the other species of pelagics, pick up the pace and troll strip baits and ballyhoo starting just outside of the king fish. I really think the best bet is sticking tight to the schools with the slow trolling but if you get tired of releasing kings then move just offshore. I suggest moving deeper in 20 foot increments and give each area 30 minutes before making another jump.
January can have phenomenal action bottom-fishing in 140 to 220 feet. You can usually catch red snappers until your arms fall off. Most of the time you can find amberjacks on big deep structures that will pull and pull. Now that groupers are closed till May, they will also be ready to yank your arms off and beat you over the head with them. This is where making the best of it comes in to play. We have to realize we are out fishing to have fun and make memories. If our only GOAL is to FILL a freezer, the money spent on a charter or to take your own boat is better spent at the grocery store. All of these fish make beautiful pictures and are a blast to catch. We can’t keep most of them, but the action is great and it’s just plain fun to test your muscle against some of the most powerful fish in the ocean. You may get lucky and find a couple keeper seabass, triggerfish, lane and vermilion snapper for those willing to weed through the red snapper using a chicken rig or a High Low Rig as Captain Grillo & Richard Sergent like to call it. If you love to bottom fish and want to have a better shot at getting some keeper mangrove and mutton snappers, give the Ocean Obsession party boat a try. One advantage they have is a bunch of bait in the water and people fishing to help weed through the red snappers. If fishing your own boat, try natural bottom in 90-feet and when you find a lively spot camp out for the day. Enough bait and drops you will also get a few mutton and mangrove snappers.

Happy New Year and Tight Lines! Captain Greg Rapp

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 –

Hailey Marie with a huge blackfin tuna

Redfish caught with Captain Alex

Sebastian Inlet Snook

Successful charter aboard the Sea Leveler

Can’t go wrong with a big winter cobia