Port Canaveral & Banana River – December 2023

PORT CANAVERAL: A drop in ocean temperatures will bring a variety of fish species into Canaveral Bight this month. Tripletail, bull redfish, bull whiting, bluefish, flounder and Spanish mackerel can all be found along these near-shore waters as cold fronts push them south this time of the year. Most of these fish will strike live shrimp, pilchards and mud minnows rigged on a ½-ounce jig head or knocker rig. I like to specifically target the larger reds using chunk baits. I fish these the same way we do for our shark trips, and it can be very effective on the big bulls that come into the bight at this time of the year. Artificial lures like Rapala X-Rap plugs (size 10), or a ½- to ¾-ounce bucktail jig can often work well when targeting the bluefish, Spanish mackerel and jack. If large bait pods are present along our coastal waters, we often find sharks and bull reds under them and, sometimes, an occasional cobia.
It’s best to book your fishing trip with me on days between cold fronts. This is when the weather starts to calm and the fishing is usually the best, so let’s get out there when the winds are coming out of the west or north and catch your next memory.

BANANA RIVER LAGOON: As the winter winds cool the waters of this portion of the lagoon, look for trout, black drum, snook and redfish to move into residential canals where they are protected from the north winds. Live shrimp or jigs tipped with shrimp are two of the best options for landing each of these types of fish. Assassin soft plastic sea shad ranging from 2- to 4-inches in length are also great lures to cast near drop-offs, mangrove edges and docks within the canals in the Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach areas. Between fronts look for black drum, redfish, trout and potentially some nice sized pompano on the 2- to 4-foot edges along many of the flats in this body of water. The reds and trout will usually hit mullet, pinfish and shrimp, and the pompano and drum will strike cut clam and sand fleas rigged on a jig head.


Capt. Jim Ross
Fineline Fishing Charters
(321) 636-3728

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