Port Canaveral & Banana River – Feb. 2021

Tripletail snap up live shrimp casted t them as they wait in ambush near floating debris outside of Port Canveral.
Tripletail snap up live shrimp casted t them as they wait in ambush near floating debris outside of Port Canveral.

PORT CANAVERAL: It’s anyone’s guess as to what the weather will be like this month, but if it follows the milder, warmer trend we have experienced over the past few year, anglers could hit the jackpot with a variety of great tasting species. On calm days, boaters need to look outside of the Ports basins in the near-shore waters for tripletail and cobia. Floating debris and weeds can often work into the area known as Canaveral Bight if light easterly breezes are blowing. Look for these weeds or flotsam between the Cocoa Beach Pier and tip of the Cape. Sometimes flotsam can be found within a mile of the beaches, but more likely will be slightly farther from shore at about the 3 to 6-mile range. Casting a live shrimp to one of these fish should have your rod bent in no time. Other species that should be possible are whiting and pompano. Look for these two species along the beaches, just outside of the surf break, or near the entrance to the Port. Small pieces of shrimp, clam, or Fish Bites are great choices to tip a ¼ to ½-ounce “pompano style” jig with. You can also use these types of baits on a standard 2 or 3-drop surf fishing rig while fishing from the beaches in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Bluefish and small jack are almost a given this month. Small Rapala Lures like the X-Rap (in size 10) can be extremely effective if you are looking for an action-packed day near the bulkheads and jetties. If the winds blow cold most of these fish will move on to warmer waters to our south, but weakfish often replace these other species along the main shipping channel leading into the Ports Basins. Live shrimp on a 3/8 to ½-ounce jig head, or lightly weighted fish finder style rig will usually interest them as they suspend 5 to 15-feet above the bottom.

BANANA RIVER LAGOON: Though this portion of the lagoon has been hit with another fish kill over the past year due to rampant pollution caused by lawn fertilizers, and raw sewage dumping, there are still a few species that are trying their best to make a comeback in these once pristine waters. The canals in the Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach areas may hold some speckled and silver trout, small redfish, and possibly black drum. This will all be dependent on how the lagoon responds to the continual abuse we put it through on a daily basis. Out on the flats away from these two residential areas there should be some slot sized redfish and trout. Look for them sunning themselves during the mid-day periods. You may also see them slowly cruising along looking for small crabs or shrimp to eat as they get warm in the midday sun. These two species will often congregate near schools or 10 to 15-inch mullet. They won’t necessarily be feeding on the large mullet, but they will use them as sentries to alert the presents of predators such as dolphin. The other reason they mill around with the mullet is to ambush baitfish and shrimp that may be flushed out of the sand by the mullets’ feeding activities. Anglers should cast lightly weighted soft plastics or free line a live shrimp near the mullet schools where the trout and reds are usually waiting to strike. Area bridges may hold big black drum. These fish will usually strike cut crab, sand fleas, or shrimp on a jig head or split shot rig.

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