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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
August 10, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report


I always get excited this time of year about the nearshore fishing available along the beach out of Canaveral. Even the smaller boats can enjoy a nearshore adventure this time of year. Usually all you have to do is motor south out of the inlet until you find some pogies. Put a few in the live well and begin to slow troll for the possibility of big jacks, tarpon, and kingfish. It all got started right this year, but for some reason slowed but should be picking up soon. The last couple of trips nearshore produced a nice 16 pound kingfish and a couple of similar sized barracuda. That has been about it. A cold water upwelling chilled the pogies and kept them deep and hard to cast net. It also chilled the bite on the predators. Some good kingfish numbers came from further offshore, but the nearshore bite was off.

Like I say though, the bite should pick up soon, and when it does look out. To rig for the slow troll, use at least 20 pound rods and add a 5 to 6 foot mono or fluorocarbon leader of 50 to 60 pound test. Start with a bimini twist on your main line and add the leader material with a double uni or Yucatan knot. To the leader, you want to use an Albright knot to add a small length of 30 to 40 pound wire in a stinger rig. I have been using the 7-strand copper colored cable. I normally use a #5 on the top hook and a #6 on the bottom. You can use either an octopus style hook or a circle hook. This rig works for the average baits, but if baits are running smaller or larger you might want to adjust your hook size as well.

Start your slow trolling routing by tilting the motor up and follow a zig zagging route while trolling one long-line way back, a medium distance line, and one right in the prop wash. Depending on the bite, you may only want to use two lines out at a time. This method has successfully hooked bluefish, barracuda, big jacks, kingfish, sharks, and tarpon this season off the beach. It has been slow lately, but I just know it has to improve soon. Give this method a try, you might just hook up.

On another trip this week I had clients from Boston come down in hopes of a nearshore trip. Given the cold water and the possibility of a brush from Tropical Storm Chris we decided fish the Indian River South of Melbourne. This too turned out to be a relatively slow day even though we counted numerous tarpon rolling we never were able to hook up. Other boats in the area were having the same problem. The anglers were Mike and his 12 year old son Max and a friend, Paul. All were avid determined anglers who never gave up all day. We managed to hook small trout, ladyfish, jacks, and one, believe it or not, alligator gar. I guess there are plenty around, I just never had one come to the boat before. In fact, as I looked at this 18-20 pound monster of the deep I wondered if I really wanted to grab him. They are a prehistoric looking critter.

Max did a good job bringing him to the boat, and even with the mono leader getting whacked by his teeth, the big gar was boated for a quick photo session and then released unharmed. We all wanted it to be one of the many tarpon we were seeing in the area but it gave Max a good fight anyway. Good job Max, just keep fishing and sooner or later it will be one of those silver kings on the end of your line.

Kids Clinic

For those of you in the Merritt Island area, the next Costal Angler Magazine’s Hook Kids on Fishing clinic will be held on August 26th at Kelly Park on the Banana River. The fun begins at 9:00 and last until 11:00. Co-sponsored by the Florida Guides Association, Bass Pro Shops, Brevard Parks and Recreation, and Fish Florida it promises to be a great event for kids 6 to 16. Call Parks and Recreation at 321-633-1874 to register.

Fish Florida has provided a grant of 50 rods and reels to be given to the kids at the clinic. If you are not familiar with Fish Florida you should visit their website at http://www.ffra.org . What you will find is that they receive the funds from the sale of Fish Florida License Plates, the one with the sailfish on it. Then, those funds are use to provide grants such as the one we received for out next clinic. So, if you have not already purchased a specialty license plate you might give this one some thought, all the proceeds go to educate kids about angling and conservation. Read the quote below from their website.

Fish Florida has been helping kids fish since 1998. You can help, too! For every license plate sold, Fish Florida receives $22.00. These funds are used to buy fishing rods and reels for kids and provide family-oriented fishing activities. Anglers and others purchased 14,486 Fish Florida license plates in 2005. Out of Florida's 100 specialty license plates, we finished in 30th place! It's a great start for a plate that has only been on sale since March 2004. THANK YOU!

Don’t Forget the Rule Change on Measurement of Fish

Well, July 1st has come and gone and you now have to use the pinched tail method of measuring fish. Your fish will have to be measured with the mouth closed and the tail pinched together. The measurement is then from the snout to the end of the pinched tail. You also have to have your tape flat on a surface; you can’t follow the contour of the fish. Fish and Wildlife refer to this a “total length” measurement. For more information, you can visit www.myfwc.com

As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch. That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’.

Capt. Ron Presley


Phone 321-454-7285


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Capt. Ron Presley is an outdoor writer and fishing guide. He serves on the board of directors of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, is Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Guides Association and editor of their newsletter. Capt. Ron operates Inshore Fishing Adventures in the Cocoa Beach area.

Contact Info:

Inshore Fishing Adventures
516 S. Plumosa St., #19
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Phone: 321-454-7285
Alt. Phone: 321-749-1787
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