Illustration by Steve Hall

Boomster Blog: Deep Sea Fishing on the Space Coast

“The Old Man and the Sea”... with a Space Coast spin!

Ernest Hemingway in his ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ put it right: “My big fish must be somewhere.”

And it is. It may be out there off the Space Coast just waiting for you. Maybe not the 18 foot-long marlin that Hemingway’s character Santiago caught far offshore, but still, your own big fish. 

Boomster Blog: Deep Sea Fishing on Florida's Space Coast

(If you still have memories of reading “The Old Man and the Sea” from 40 or 50 years ago in school, you’ll recall that old man Santiago couldn’t get the huge Marlin on board so he dragged the fish along side, only to have it slowly consumed by sharks on the long trip home. BTW, you won’t have this problem with a professional fishing boat crew.)

Hopefully, your deep sea fishing adventure off the Space Coast is less traumatic and dramatic than Santiago’s, but it will be exciting just the same.

Skilled Space Coast captains and crews help experienced anglers or first-timers. Dads, moms, grandparents and grandkids will have lifelong memories. I’ll do this with my grandkids in a few years. Right now, the youngest would toddle right off the stern with her sippycup and handful of appropriately fish-shaped crackers.

You can book full day, ¾ day, half day trips for a traditional, “yes, I’ve been deep-sea fishing on my vacation” experience looking for grouper, king mackerel, or triple tail. Or, you can pay to travel further out seeking shark, mahi, swordfish, and yellowfin tuna [these are 10 - 13 hours trips] for a more Hemingway-esque experience.

Charters provide rod and reels, tackle, bait, the fishing license, ice, a large ice box, and fish cleaning.

You bring the suntan location, floppy hat, something to eat, sunglasses, and -- if seasickness is an issue -- your preferred over-the-counter (Bonine, Antivert, or Dramamine) or prescription (ex: patch containing scopolamine) medication. I’ve always worn a long sleeve t-shirt and leggings to give my aging skin a break.

Offshore fishing includes an hour or more cruising to the guide’s favorite spots, then angling feverishly as you motor from spot to spot, with an hour or so getting back to the Port. Generally I bring coffee for the trip out and cold beer for the trip back.

It’s most important that you put yourself in a Hemingway frame-of-mind; the salty, ocean, ruggedness experience of offshore fishing. I don’t have evidence that Ernest lathered himself up in SPF 50, and I know my dermatologist would have a conniption, but a healthy, happy glow (and facial stubble, if possible, so avoid shaving) should be the goal for the day. If your legs are brilliant white, you may want to color up a bit before your trip. It’s a dead, “yes, I’m a northern person” give-a-way to your crew (and the fish) and may become a navigation problem due to reflected light. I’m just making this up, but you never know with all the high tech equipment they have on today’s boats.

Unique Off-Shore Fishing Experience Unrelated to Fish or Beer

You may say to me, “I’ve fished all over the world! I’ve seen it all!”

Maybe not.

Have you headed out to sea on a fishing boat that is nearly swamped by a nuclear submarine heading out from port? You can from Port Canaveral. It’s nearly impossible to to describe the enormousness of a submarine, most of which is submerged underwater and you don’t see. The crew on the conning tower seem like small model miniatures. When the sub is well out of sight in the distance it’s still producing a 6 foot wake.

Have you seen a SpaceX booster towed into port on the deck of their autonomous drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You”?  This is the closest most residents and visitors get to real, live space hardware, and it’s happening right here on the Space Coast. As we boomers will say, “That’s so cool.”

Space Coast Charters

Here are three offshore fishing charter companies to look at (all recommended by savvy locals):

Canaveral Kings Sport Fishing Charters
Cape Canaveral
www.canaveralkings.com
(321) 543-5109
[email protected]

Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters
Cape Canaveral
www.sealeveler.com
(321) 794-3474
[email protected]

Cocoa Beach Sport Fishing
Cape Canaveral
www.cbsportfishing.com
(321) 848-2662
[email protected]

Space Coast Visitors Guide Cover Image

Vacation Planner for Florida’s Space Coast

The official Space Coast Vacation Planner Guide is now available. There are two ways to get yours: