PORT CANAVERAL: Mangrove snapper are holding around the rocks and piers within the Port’s basins this month. Live pilchards, shrimp, mud minnows or fingerling mullet rigged on a 1/8th- to 1/4-ounce (depending on water depth) jig head or a VMC 1/0 to 2/0 circle hook should put some action on the end of your line. Flounder, jack, snook and an occasional redfish may also be possible for anglers using these types of baits around rocks and pilings throughout the Port. White bucktail jigs with Bang or Pro-Cure scent applied to them are a good lure option. Snook, bluefish, jack, and Spanish mackerel will strike these baits on almost every cast when a concentration of these fish are found. Along the beaches outside of the Port, I’ll be targeting tarpon, shark and king mackerel. The various types of sharks and the kingfish will usually scale from about 10 to 35 pounds. The tarpon, however, will run from about 50 to 150 pounds on most days. Live menhaden (pogies) rigged on a 7/0 or 8/0 sized VMC 7385 circle hook will generally produce good hookups on these fish. The shark and kingfish will generally get caught on a wire stinger rig adorned with a lively menhaden or mullet. You can also cast large plugs around the bait pods found along the coast with good results on most days.
BANANA RIVER LAGOON: Speckled trout will be prowling the flats during the early morning periods. Anglers getting on the water at first light will have the best chance to get one of the larger “gator” trout on a topwater plug. Walk-the-dog style plugs like the Rapala Skitterwalk are very good choices on most mornings. Saltwater Assassin soft plastic sea shads are very productive on slot-sized and over slot-sized trout, and their 5-inch soft plastic jerk bait rigged on a weedless weighted worm hook is one of the best lures anglers can used to excite big trout this month. The Gold Pepper Shiner and native shiner versions are two colors that every angler should have in their tackle box. Redfish, tarpon, and even a bull shark or two, can be found in the Lagoon this month. Live pinfish, pogies and mullet rigged on a VMC circle hook similar to the ones mentioned in the paragraph above for tarpon are the best way to get hooked into one of these bigger fish. Your live baitfish should be “free-lined” or fished under a cork in the 4- to 8-foot depths of this lagoon where baitfish are present. Cut baits can also be effective at times on these three species, especially in the mid-day periods.
Capt. Jim Ross
Fineline Fishing Charters