As mid-summer in Brevard County approaches, you can count on a few things. Namely calm, glassy conditions, afternoon thunderstorms, and HEAT. Your best bet is to get out on the water early and get your fishing in by two or three o’clock. Make sure to keep yourself covered up with light clothing and sun block, and to drink plenty of water throughout your adventure.
Depending on what you’re targeting, fishing in Brevard can get tough. The water gets very warm and some of the fishing turns off. You’ve got to use live bait. I recommend taking a cast net to catch some Pogies flipping along the beach or in one of the ports. Just make sure not to catch too many. If you overload your live well in the summer heat, the oxygen will get used up and your bait will be dead by the time you need it for fishing.
When you’re ready, start fishing along the beach in water from five to 25 feet deep. With the water being clean and bait running the beach there will be a few fish running the beach feeding. I like to start off using a 40 lb. fluorocarbon leader with a 5/0 circle hook. SLOW troll the beach looking for bait pods on your depth finder. You’re targeting anything that will bend your rod and scream your reels, fish like Bonita and Jack Crevale (up to 40 pounds) and Tarpon (up to 150 pounds).
I use spinning gear and light conventional gear, 25 lb. mono on the conventional and 30 lb. braid on the spinning, and am jumping and or landing at least one good fish a day. Sometimes, my line gets bit by Kingfish. If it happens too often, I switch out the single hook to a standard double treble hook rig.
While summer fishing in Brevard, give each spot about 20 to 30 minutes. Start shallow, then try deeper. Look for bait on the depth finder and troll around it. You can also try shutting the motors down and drifting. Again, 20-30 minutes of no action and I move.
Here’s what I know specifically about targeting Kingfish and Tarpon:
King Mackerel are a great fighting fish and can smoke your reel pretty good. Sometimes they skyrocket on your baits and sometimes they just hit without a splash and take off. You can guarantee that they will take a long hard run when they hit, then one throughout the fight then when they see the boat. And if you’re lucky, when they see the gaff! Kingfish can get into the 50 pound range and sometimes bigger. The common ones along the beach are 25 pounds.
To catch them, use light conventional rods with 25 lb. mono. Tip that with a 30 lb. six-foot fluorocarbon leader then attach your tiny 60 lb. swivel with the standard number four wire tandem treble hook king rig, which can be purchased at any local tackle shop. Hook a Pogie through the top of the head and slow troll them. I use 2 rods and utilize the back rod holders on my boat. One line goes long and the other goes short, and by short I mean 20 to 30 feet behind the boat. Some of the biggest fish will come in behind the motors to eat.
Tarpon can be a lot of fun and also very frustrating. I start fishing for them only after I have located them, which can be a process. Once you see them rolling you have to be as stealthy as possible. It can be difficult with a large boat for sure. When I find them I shut the motors off and drift. I use spinning rods with 30 lb. braid. I double my line up with a bimini twist followed by 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader to a 6/0 four-times strength circle hook. I use live Pogies or large live Mullet.
Cast one out as far in one direction and the other as far out in the other direction as possible, so the bait doesn’t get tangled. I use Shimano bait runners for this style of fishing, which allows me to dead-stick the rods, and to let the fish run with a very light drag then engage the full drag with the turn of a handle. This can be fun once you hook up or jump one, but frustrating because you can see them all around you and they may not bite. If you have a single engine boat or a trolling motor, that’s perfect. You can slow troll the area just as you would for Kings.
Summer fishing in Brevard, sportfishing in particular, takes patience and resourcefulness as well as strength. Some of these fish will fight you for an hour or more and even at 25 pounds, it isn’t easy. When you catch a beauty, however, it’s totally worth it.
|If you have any questions about getting out on the water, please contact Brittney at Florida Sportswoman at (321) 917-4256. Florida Sportswoman offers seminars every month at Strike-Zone in West Melbourne. Visit Florida Sportswoman on the Web or on the organization’s Facebook page to view pictures and videos, get more information about becoming a member or sponsor, and connect with fellow Florida sportswomen.|