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Old 01-02-2009, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default FL East Coast Fishing

It looks like the seas will be laying down until at least Tuesday off the east coast. My neighbor has been itching to take his boat out for some fishing, but we're both rookies when it comes to ocean fishing. Is there anything biting on the troll right now? We'd also love to do some bottom fishing, but all we have for numbers is one of the crappy "Hot Spots" maps. Never really had any luck with those... any suggestions? Also, anyone with experience with ROFFS reports? FYI, we would go out of either Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet. Thanks in advance for any help!!
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: FL East Coast Fishing

Nothing at all wrong with a Top Spots map. You'll not find anything else with better public numbers, you'll just have to find your own private numbers. If you haven't already, check out the Florida Sportsman site- look for the Central East Coast Forum. As a new fisherman you should spend part of each trip investigating structure in whatever area you find youself to locate good bottom. It takes a while to build a good set of private numbers. Good bottom generally means hard bottom with some relief, meaning rock piles or ledges. If you find the bait you'll find the fish eating the bait.

Winter in our area is the best bottom fishing. Red Snapper are really plentyful this year (just not so much on my boat!). Out of Canaveral you have to choose to head north to the Chris Benson area or South to Pelican Flats, or east to the 27 fathom ridge. If it's the weekend you'll know when you get to the right spot because you'll be there with several others. Bring frozen squid and sardines and catch some live pinfish in the port using a sabiki tipped with bits of shrimp. You can also hit the wrecks on you top spots map to do the same. You'll find out fairly quickly what the fish are hungry for that day. Bottom fishing is all about knowing how to use your electonics. There is a very good thread on here about setting up and dialing in your bottom machine - just do a search. Also don't fish exclusivlely dead on the bottom. Try the entire water column from about 30 ft down to the bottom. Chumming never hurts either.

You can troll for king mackeral now. Slow troll live baits over structure in about 80-90 feet (Pelican or 8A reef). Keep a spinning rod rigged and ready for cobia if you see them. If you head deeper and find a temp break or a current rip you can catch the occasional sailfish or wahoo. I haven't checked the water temps this week, but don't bother trolling in water that is less than 68 or 69 degrees on the surface. Dolphin are a possibility if you find warm clean water and a weedline or flotsam holding bait.

I am not familiar with Sebastian so much, but the same rules apply. Also don't overlook the surf. If you get there at the right time in the right spot you'll find huge redfish. Bluefish are everywhere near the cape. I haven't used Roff's reports. I guess they might take some of the work out of doing it yourself. Check out for some interesting tools as well. It's likely I'll be out on Sunday looking for the snapper. Haven't decided yet where I am heading. So much to say in such a small space! Good luck, should be a good weekend.

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Old 01-02-2009, 08:11 PM   #3
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Default RE: FL East Coast Fishing


I'm not from that part of the state, but I'd imagine that you'll find Kingfish, Spanish Macks, and perhaps Cobia in the nearshore waters off East Central FL this time of year. In addition, the Sailfish run on the East Coast is just getting started, so slow trolling a live bait or small ballyhoo in clean water could really bring you some action from sails, dolphin, or wahoo depending on far you run offshore.

As far as the Top Spot Charts go, I've always found them helpful. For finding bottomfishing spots, they're a great place to start, just get in the area, set your FF/Bottom Machine to focus on the bottom half of the water columm and you should be half way there!

Roffs isn't really necessary for what it sounds like you want to do. Roffs is excellent for ID'ing changes in surface water temps/breaks and that'll help target pelagics. I know the guys who run across the stream in your area to target YFT on the "far side" use it. It's expensive... When you run out the inlet, take a look at the water color. The nearshore water will be greenish-brown (especially if the tide's outgoing). Keep running east until you see a "Break" -- should be clearly defined. Once you get to the clear water, put your baits out.

Good luck...

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Old 01-02-2009, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: FL East Coast Fishing

Here is the thread I mentioned:
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