Boating & Fishing

Make the Most of Your Space Coast Fishing Charter

fishing boat

The lure of fishing on the Space Coast

Choosing a charter captain on Florida’s Space Coast is a little bit like picking the best donut from the case. You know they’re all going to be great, you just need to figure out what you’re in the mood for. Fortunately for you, Fishing charters in our biodiverse estuaries, waterways, and our particular slice of Atlantic Ocean paradise are full of excitement, tight lines, and inspiration to anglers young and old! There are a few ways we like to fish here on the Space Coast. Here’s how to identify the best charter for your desired trip, tips for enjoying that trip to the fullest, and what to do after you’ve docked at Port Canaveral with fish in the box!

Choose the right charter

There’s a huge difference between inshore, offshore, and freshwater fishing here on the Space Coast. Thankfully our host of guides and charter captains are here to give you the exact fishing experience you’re looking for.

Laid-back Fun, Fishing With Kids on the Space Coast

Inspiring a love of fishing in your children is easy here on the Space Coast. Freshwater fishing experiences are typically a half-day of fishing on calm, favorable waters. Boats are on the small side, so they will accommodate your small family and give you a chance to interact with your guide to learn what types of lures to toss, bait hook, and what habitats to look for when you want to catch the big one. It’s big fun, with a small-time commitment perfect for the kids or anyone else who may need a nap.

Inshore fishing is also great for the kids! The (mostly) calm waters of the intracostal waterway provide a bit more of a challenge. With more species of fish to catch, different habitats, and dolphins and manatees to encounter, these half-day excursions are great for a morning or evening on the water!

fishing with kids

Flex your Skills, Fishing With Friends on the Space Coast

If you’re looking for some challenging fishing where you can really focus on your catch, inshore and offshore charters can also provide a perfect experience. Guides can get you into the tricky, but fruitful canals and shores of the Indian River Lagoon put you on bucket-list redfish or snook, and teach you how to hook and reel’em in! These full-day and half-day charters take place on bigger boats that can accommodate between 6 and 10 guests. They’re perfect for intermediate anglers and fishermen looking for a laid-back but fun trip with friends.

Man with Snook

Image by @Capt.Jon_lulay

Bottom Fishing or Party Boat trips are perfect for the first encounter with offshore fishing. These half-day trips take you out to the artificial and natural reefs just offshore in the Atlantic. Once you’re at the reef, you’ll be instructed to drop your line and wait for the bite! It’s a great way to get offshore for the first time, or with a large group if you’re not sure if everyone will have a good time fishing. They’re only ½ day excursions and get you back to Port Canaveral just in time for happy hour in the Cove.

●  For a serene lagoon fishing experience, check out Living Waters Kayaking Adventures. They’ll provide an experienced guide and all the gear for 1-3 people to fish from paddle kayaks. This is a family-friendly way to enjoy the lagoon and do some light-tackle fishing.

man fishing from kayak

image by @livingwaterskayakadventures

●  If a motor is more your speed, 2 Castaway Fishing Charters offers motorized flats boats designed for shallow water. If you’re looking for a charter that will hook you on some of the biggest Redfish, ask them for a trip to Mosquito Lagoon, a.k.a. “the redfish capital of the world.” These expert anglers provide half-day and full-day charters for 1-3 people. It’s a great way to fish with the kids too.

●  Looking for more of a party atmosphere? You can bring a large group or just join in the fun with everyone else on either the 95’Orlando Princess or the 85’ Canaveral Princess head boats. You’ll enjoy the comfort of an enormous yacht with an experienced crew. And it’s not just fishing here. Sunbathe on the deck and then cool off in the air-conditioned lounge when you need a break from the sun. This charter is for people of all ages and activity levels.

Take a Challenge, head Offshore from the Space Coast

You came to Port Canaveral to reel in THE big one. Full-day sport fishing tours provide you the opportunity to get into the deep blue and troll for Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Marlin, King Mackeral, and more. If you’re looking to reel in 40+ pounds of pure muscle, book an all-day tour from any of the sportfishing charters based out of Port Canaveral. These all-day trips aren’t great for people who get sea-sick or aren’t really into fishing. While your captains and deckhands will help you as much as they can, you’re going to be doing a lot of work on these trips, but oh boy, they are worth it in the end.

Man with tripletail

Image by @kurt_boyken

●  Fin and Fly Fishing Charters offers it all. Chill on the river, inshore, nearshore or have the thrill of a lifetime on a sportfishing excursion. They offer a variety of boats to accommodate 1-3 people or groups up to 6. Get ready for an exhilarating time on boats like a Skeeter 24’, which can take you from coastal fishing out to the sea where the big fish live. If you are looking for a family adventure, ask which tours are right for children.

If you want to make the most of your Space Coast fishing experience, learn what you’re after and then find a charter to match.  Charters and guides take you to the fish, provide expert instruction and tips, and ensure you’ll make memories you’ll never forget. All that’s left is for you to reel that catch in!

Listen to Your Captain or Guide

Captains are required to be CPR and first aid trained prior to acquiring their license as well as pass a Coast Guard exam. Not only will they be able to ensure you have a safe and fun trip, but they can also anticipate when the weather could become an issue as you are out on the water. These captains want you to have a great experience with them, so at times, they may require you to be patient so that they can get you and the rest of the boat to the honey hole. From what to bring and how to fish, make sure you’re listening to your captain.

Let the Pros do the Cooking

When you’ve come in for the day the chefs at these great Port Canaveral restaurants will cook up your catch so you can relax on the deck!

●  Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar is a casual family-friendly restaurant that will prepare your fresh catch grilled, blackened, or a combination of the two. Select it as dinner with two sides, in tacos, or atop a salad. Relax inside or on the deck, enjoying live music Wednesday-Sunday, and then take home a memory of your entire fishing experience by grabbing a souvenir from the gift shop.

steamed fish with rice

image by @beacheatswabaso

●  Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar is a great option for larger groups because you can reserve the patio party seating with its beautiful view overlooking the water. They charge by the pound to prepare your fresh catch grilled, blackened, fried, Jamaican-jerked, or parmesan encrusted. Add your choice of sides and delicious dipping sauces to truly savor your personally caught fish. Live music all day makes it a fun spot day or evening. Booked a charter that doesn’t clean your fish? Don’t worry. Rusty’s has a filet table on the side for customer use.

● Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill has something for everyone. Here you’ll find live music, a tiki bar, dancing, a quiet covered patio, and a lively sports bar. It’s perfect for a family, as well as adults looking for a party. They’ll prepare your fresh fish tempura-battered, fried, sauteed, grilled, or blackened. Make sure to call them the morning of your charter to let them know you’ll be bringing in your catch and what you’ll be fishing for. Reservations are recommended on the weekend.

Other Things to Consider when Preparing for Your Fishing Trip

If you’ve never been on a fishing charter and are excited to go offshore fishing for the first time, here are some important things to remember.

●  Whether it’s an inshore or offshore trip, dress in layers and remember that the temperature can go from hot to cold and back again.

●  Make sure you bring sunscreen and a hat. You don’t want to get burned offshore!

man in sunmask with red fish

Image by @charliee407

●  Ask the charter company if they provide a Florida fishing license as part of their pricing. Most offshore charters provide a day license with the purchase of your charter experience. However inshore and freshwater guides may not, so it’s always good to ask.

Whether you had a day filling the box with fish or only had a few snags and no keepers, once you’ve experienced the lure of fishing on the Space Coast, you’ll be quickly planning the next time you can get out on the water.

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