The waters around Port Canaveral include many features that are attractive to game fish, including offshore wrecks, the Canaveral Bight shark fishing grounds, underwater reefs, rock ledges, and the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Be prepared for your weekend fishing trip by bringing the right gear and bait for the fish you’re likely to encounter.
Commonly Caught Fish
- Snapper:Snapper are a favorite game fish in North America, and you can expect to see some on your deep-sea fishing charter boat from Port Canaveral. Red snapper, lane snapper and mangrove snapper are commonly caught in this area. They take a variety of bait and medium-rated tackle.
- Sea Bass: Black Sea Bass can be found near structures at a depth of 430 feet or less. Most are between 1.5 and 2 lbs., but larger bait will attract larger individuals.
- Cobia: Also known as ling or lemonfish, an average cobia is around 30 pounds. Look for them near buoys, pilings, and wrecks near shore and use live crabs or small fish for bait.
- Sharks: Edible game sharks in Florida, including the blacktip and bonnethead species, are here all year, but concentrate in shallow water when it gets cold. Frozen squid is a successful bait for sharks.
- Grouper: Grouper live near natural reefs, man-made reefs, and ledges. Use conventional rigging and live or frozen bait. Simple bottom-fishing will often net a grouper, or try slow trolling to lure them out of hiding.
- Greater Amberjack: Amberjack is found near rocky reefs, wrecks, or other structures in depths of 60 to 240 feet, with the biggest fish in deeper water. Amberjack will bite any live or artificial bait, but use heavy conventional tackle for best results.
- Grey Triggerfish: This notorious bait thief is usually less than 5 pounds in weight and 17 inches long. Find them in about 180 feet or less of water, over hard bottoms, and in lagoons and bays. Use a small sharp hook and squid or cut bait.
Less Common Catches
- Florida Pompano: The Florida pompano usually weighs less than 3 pounds and is less than 17 inches long. This fast-swimming fish is very active on the line and may require heavier tackle than you would expect for their size.
- King Mackerel: The king mackerel is usually caught by trolling with live or cut bait. Look for larger individuals (20 pounds or more) inshore, near inlets and harbors, in depths of 40 to 150 feet.
- Mahi Mahi: Also known as dorado or dolphin, brilliantly-colored mahi mahi average 15 to 29 pounds and 3 feet long. Mahi mahi are often found near the surface, around floating debris or buoys. Use 30- to 50-pound gear to troll for mahi mahi, or use fly-casting techniques.
- Flounders: This weird-looking fish lives on hard, sandy bottoms near coastlines at depths of 60 to 300 feet. Flounder is not choosy about bait and many are taken by spearfishing or jigging.
- Sailfish: This distinctive billfish may be up to 9 feet in length and weigh 200 pounds. Found near the surface in deep water, they are often caught by trolling with whole mullet or ballyhoo for bait.