With each spring comes the arrival of local angler favorite, the cobia. This popular fish will start showing up near Port Canaveral in February, followed by much better numbers in March as the water temperatures begin rising. Cobia make great visual targets, as they enjoy basking in the springtime sunshine close to the surface. Look for large manta rays and slowly approach them ready to cast near them if you see a cobia running by their side.
A fairly large fish, cobia may resemble sharks to the untrained eye, but look closely and you’ll notice the brown color characteristic of the cobia. How big are cobia? Well, the average spring cobia caught in Port Canaveral weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. This great tasting fish makes a very enjoyable dinner when you catch one.
Generally, Port Canaveral anglers like to use brightly colored ‘cobia’ jigs, such as a Williamson surface pro popper, Storm 5-6 inch swimbait, or Rapala X-Rap lure; anglers have experienced success fishing for cobia with all of these lures. When in doubt, live bait is always a great go-to option if lures fail you. Try live baitfish, crab, or a live eel and your chances will only increase to have a tight line with a cobia on the other end.
Some other targets for the spring fishing season at Port Canaveral include tripletail, whiting, pompano, and black drum. These can be caught on sand fleas or fresh frozen shrimp on the bottom. The pompano typically like waters to be about 68 degrees and this time of year they are migrating north as the water warms up.
Port Canaveral Offshore Fishing
Which game fish will you run into this spring offshore near Port Canaveral? You might have already guessed it: cobia! As they migrate, cobia frequently swim with larger creatures and objects, so keep an eye out for rays hiding cobia beneath them, or turtles, sharks and even weed lines, buoys and other flotsam.
Choose a nice clear day with minimal cloud coverage for your Port Canaveral offshore cobia fishing trip. Don’t forget your polarized sunglasses, as most of your day will involve spotting cobia from your bow or boat tower.
Keep a couple bucktail lures handy, preferably in chartreuse colors. You can tip them with squid, live crab, shrimp, eel, or plastic curly grubs.
As the season advances, dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) begin stealing some of the glory from the migrating cobia near Port Canaveral. These swift, acrobatic game fish have striking colors and weigh an average of 15 to 29 pounds, with bulls getting up to 60 pounds. You’ll find mahi-mahi near Port Canaveral from late spring through mid-summer, and then again in the fall.
Port Canaveral anglers usually troll for mahi-mahi with 30-50 pound test tackle and ballyhoo. Once a school of the fish are located, you might try fly casting, using a bait and switch technique, to get them into a feeding frenzy. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can be used in the same manner.
While they are riled up, throw the fly to the feeding mahi-mahi, and be ready for a good fight!
A Quick Word to the Wise: Before heading out on your fishing trip near Port Canaveral, make sure to check out the local Fishing Regulations so that you stay within the law and protect each species of fish for future angling enjoyment.