East Central Florida Weekend Fishing 4Cast

Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 at 8:00 am

Tomoka Basin to Sebastian Inlet

Includes Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa and Melbourne

March 3-5



Its been a little slow on for most anglers who are looking for some trolling action. A few sailfish and an occasional blackfin tuna are showing up in the 130 to 250-foot depths for anglers trolling at 3-4 knots with small to medium sized ballyhoo. Skirted baits have not been as effective as naked baits this week. There are also some small to medium sized dolphin scattered around in these depths They have also been hitting ballyhoo, but you will need to pick up your trolling speed slightly to around 4 to 6-knots to have the best chance at these fish. Bottom fishing for red eyes (vermilion snapper), mangroves snapper, triggerfish and porgies is pretty good on the structures in 80 to 140-feet of water. Try using cut squid to get your bait past the red snapper. If you want to practice your catch and release fishing on the red snapper, you should try to chum them closer to the surface before you hook them. This makes these fish much easier to revive, and the fish usually do not need venting when landed in this fashion. Closer to shore on the artificial reefs and rubble piles Captain Ron Hatcher has been doing well on sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and even a few sea bass now and then. Ron says live shrimp (or small crabs if you’re chasing the sheepshead) can be extremely effective on some of these locations. Bull Redfish and even a cobia or two are possible once in a while. Keep a cobia jig on a spinning rod ready for any cobia that may pop up next to the boat. Also be aware that these fish often follow a hooked fish up to the surface, so stay alert while fishing around these near-shore structures.


Mangrove snapper are possible for anglers working the rocky areas, bridge pilings, and docks between the inlet and the three sisters section of the river. Live shrimp or small fingerling mullet (when available) are the best bait options for these fish. Most of the mangroves are just under the legal limit, but a few are running into the 12 to 13-inch range. Sheepshead are another fish that is possible in these areas of structure. Live fiddler crabs and sand fleas rigged on a small, yet sturdy hook, should do the trick on most days. Captain Mike Mann has been finding redfish, trout, and a few snook while casting top water plugs near the edges of islands and over the top of oyster bars during higher stages of the tide. He says the Rapala Skitterwalk plugs have been producing the best numbers for him this week. Once his top water bite slows he switches to a 4-inch sea shad tail rigged on a weedless worm hook to keep his bite going through the day. Captain Troy Perez is finding good numbers of redfish in the southern part of the Mosquito Lagoon near the Whales Tail flat and also along the eastern side of the southern lagoon from Eddie Creek to Turtle Pen. The area in front of the Observatory has been on of the better places to get redfish and drum for him this week. Gator sized trout are also possible in the extreme shallows near Gallinipper as well as in Max Hoake creek.



Most anglers are reporting extremely good numbers of red snapper in the 7 to 20 pound range on the wrecks and reefs in 70 to 140-feet of water. Catch and release fishing for these fish hasn’t been this good in years despite the fact that you are still not allowed by federal law to being them home. A few cobia can be found around the schools of snapper in these depths. Try chumming the snapper up to the surface, so you can sight cast to them or to any cobia that show up in your chum slick. A few fun ways to make catching them a little harder is to use top water plugs, jerk bait, or flies. Once hooked try to bring the snapper to the surface as slowly as possible and you may get an inquisitive cobia or two to follow your hooked fish. King mackerel are decent on the 70 to 90-foot reefs and a few schools of giant bluefish are showing up in the 40 to 80-foot depths. If you find a school of them, make sure you put some wire in front of your lures or baits to avoid unwanted cut offs. Cobia jigs, top water plugs like the Williamson pro popper or larger faced jet popper, and Cordell pencil poppers are great lures to cast at these giant bluefish. Tarpon are also possible near bait pods in the 25 to 60-foot depths this week. Live pogies or sardines are the best bait choices for them. Rig these on a VMC 7385 7/0 or 8/0 sized circle hook and 80-pound test fluorocarbon leader.


Scattered redfish black drum and trout are possible in the Indian and banana River lagoons. A variety of soft plastic lures that imitate baitfish can be used to entice the reds and trout. Anglers will need to use live shrimp or cut clam to get the black drum to strike on most days.



King mackerel and some scattered cobia are possible on the 60 to 90-foot structures. Captain Justin Burdette of sea legs fishing charters recently had a good outing on these fish in the 75 to 80-foot depths. Anglers can chum these structures to get the fish to come up to the surface, or free line live Threadfin herring- (greenies) or scaled sardines- (pilchards) back into their slicks with good success. Mangrove snapper and mutton snapper are possible for anglers trying to bottom fish in the 45 to 90-foot depths. Live or cut sardines have been working well for them on most days. Farther offshore sailfish are still a good possibility for anglers trolling small skirted strip baits or naked ballyhoo in the 120 to 250-foot depths.


There has been a good mixed bag of species inside the inlet most of the week. Pompano, flounder, jack, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, bluefish, snook, redfish, tarpon, and a few other species are possible here. Live shrimp, greenies, pilchards, and baby pogies are good baits for most of these fish. All of the mentioned baitfish types are running through the inlet at this time. Shrimp remain the best bait type for black drum, pompano, flounder, and mangrove snapper. Greenies, pilchards, fingerling mullet, pinfish, and croaker are best for the snook reds and larger bluefish. Both the north and south jetty and the area near the wading pool west of the bridge are holding the best numbers of fish in recent days. Captain Mike Peppe is finding good numbers of small tarpon, snook, redfish and speckled trout along the mangrove covered shorelines south of the Wabasso Bridge. he has been using a variety of small lures and even some streamer flies to get these fish to strike. The pins minnow, Rapala Ultra-Light 06 sized minnow and 08 size Saltwater X-Rap minnow style lure are top producers. Look for areas where baitfish like pilchards and glass minnows are schooling to hold the best numbers of these predatory fish.

Until next week…Catch a memory!!!!

Captain Jim Ross / www.FinelineFishingCharters.com / (321) 636-3728 / captjimross@cfl.rr.com

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Article source: http://www.floridasportsman.com/2017/03/02/east-central-weekend-fishing-4cast/

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