It’s pretty common knowledge at this point that the Space Coast is a great place to tackle large tarpon from a beach launched kayak in the summer months. Unlike other areas in the state we have relatively shallow waters for miles from the surf zone eliminating some species from potential catches. For us the 80-150lb tarpon that migrate just off or coast when conditions are favorable get the all the kayak crowd’s attention, and rightfully so.
The shallow and relatively bait filled coast off Brevard is tailor made for tarpon to feast on their way north for the summer and we get plenty of opportunities, but there is another King who also doesn’t mind the shallows. They make their move to our near-coastal waters as summer sets in. The King Mackerel (kingfish) becomes a target that should not be overlooked by those hitting the coastal waters this summer, and that is especially true for the kayak bound anglers. Bait fish prevalence will be a large piece of this puzzle. Slow trolling live baits found in the areas you are fishing is a time-tested method to hook a kingfish, and the modern fishing kayaks we all use excel in this fashion of fishing. The standard live bait stinger rig is simple and should be readily available at any quality tackle shop; also, a quick internet search will have you swimming in instructional videos on how to tie it. Literally any live bait will work though I prefer pogies, treadfin, and large mullet in that order. With any hope our pogie (Atlantic menhaden) pods will appear and give us that easy bait along with holding the predators in close. Areas of bait and activity are your typical productive spots as we do not have much for reefs close in to focus on. Color changes can also pay well. Kingfish are no slouch in the fight department and many of the ones you find in the coastal areas are of the larger variety at 20 lbs. and bigger. I like to run conventional setups in the 20 lb. class, but you can get this job done with a quality spinning outfit in the 6500 class or larger.
Some of the best places to launch for this action are Playalinda, Indialantic, Satellite, and Cocoa Beaches. Most of those areas with exception of the later (CB) should have minimal boat traffic and plentiful bait opportunities. The Port area can be tempting and certainly fishy at times, however the boat traffic can and will be very heavy on the calmer days that are needed for us to be comfortable in kayaks. May/June is what I consider the start of our beach launch kayak season on the Space Coast for several reasons. The seas settle and calm days outnumber rough ones unless a tropical system is in the works; also, the prevalence of bait and predators as the water temperatures raise gives us a healthy chance at some great fishing