Tomoka Basin to Sebastian Inlet
Includes Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa and Melbourne
Grouper action is steady for anglers finding baitfish on reefs and wrecks in the 160 to 250-foot depths. Live pogies, pinfish, grunts and blue runners are all good live baits to use. Rig these on a standard bottom rig. Mangrove snapper, sea bass and triggerfish are also possible for anglers fishing on structure inside of these depths. Cobia are still being found scattered across the 25 to 80-foot depths across this portion of the region.
Small flounder are hitting live shrimp and small baitfish in the river and creeks between the Dunlawton Bridge and Shipyard Canal. Rig these baits on either a jig head or sliding sinker rig. Redfish and trout catches have been very slow over the last few days for anglers fishing during the morning and midday periods. Later in the afternoon the bite has been getting better though. Topwater popping and walking style plugs are working well at daybreak on most mornings, and then switch to live or cut baits for these two species. Small dark colored flies that imitate crabs or shrimp will also work for the reds on the flats in the Oak Hill and central lagoon flats. Mixed bags of whiting, pompano, bluefish, jack, and Spanish mackerel have been possible in the surf zones this week. HookUp bucktail Jigs tipped with sand fleas or shrimp are good for all of these species. Use the ¼ to ½ ounce models when available.
A few dolphin are coming to the docks this week. Most of the fish are running in the 5 to 10 pound range but a couple are larger. Look for weed lines and patches or other floating objects that will hold baitfish to have most of the smaller fish holding near them. The larger fish seem to be roaming about in the water between the 120 and 240-foot depths. Gag grouper are hitting live and cut baits on the 160 to 245-foot structures. Vertical jigs can also be effective on these fish. Amberjack are another hard fighting fish that will strike the vertical jigs being fished in the 180-plus foot depths. Tripletail are showing up in better numbers this week. Captain Gina Bradley had some nice ones outside of the Port on Tuesday of this week using live shrimp as bait.
Seatrout catches are fairly good in the Indian River from cocoa southward to Melbourne at this time. Live shrimp or fingerling mullet fished under floats or free lined near docks and rocky areas have been effective most of the week. Trout are usually found around the submerged spoil islands from the Melbourne causeway bridge to the power lines crossing the river near port Malabar at this time of the year but they have not been as abundant as usual this year. Anglers should look for this to change in the next week or so because schools of fingerling mullet and glass minnows are becoming more prominent in this section of the river. Small spoons and jigs are good lure choices to imitate the forage that these fish are feeding on.
Sailfish, dolphin and a few wahoo are striking trolled ballyhoo and mullet on the offshore fishing grounds. Look for features like rips and weeds to work around. Temperature changes are another good feature to work your trolled baits through. Grouper catches are fair on the 120 to 220-foot structures. Vertical and regular deep jigs have been working on the larger grouper when anglers cannot find large live baitfish to drop on these bottom features. A few king mackerel are starting to make there presents known in the 45 to 90-foot depths. Look for them holding near bait pods in these depths.
A few pompano, sheepshead, and whiting can be found in the surf between Vero and Melbourne. Use live or frozen sand fleas on two and three drop surf rigs or mix these baits with some cut shrimp or squid to see what the fish prefer on that particular day. Redfish, snook, and bluefish are hitting inside the inlet on most nights. Live pinfish and mullet will usually get their attention when drifted with the tide. Redfish, ladyfish, and trout are feeding on minnows and small mullet in the flats on both sides of the inlet. Use live or cut baitfish or jigs and lures that imitate them during morning and evening periods.
Until next week…Catch a memory!!!