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Cast Into The Florida Space Coast's Famous Fishing

There are few among us who wouldn't "rather be fishing," especially around Florida's Space Coast.  The Space Coast offers world class fishing with more than 500 species of fresh water fish in area rivers and lakes, many of  which are game fish.  Adventure awaits for the expert fisherman looking for a world record catch, like the super grand slam when one angler landed four species of billfish on the same day in 1998.  For vacationing families just looking for a relaxing afternoon casting together, there are plentiful options at one of the local fish camps, fishing piers, or on a private or chartered fishing boat from one of the 72 marinas.  Whether searching for giant redfish, spotted sea trout and snook in the Indian River Lagoon, largemouth bass on the St. Johns River or the one of a  kind catch available in the Atlantic - the area is a fisherman's paradise to be sure. The incredible abundance can be traced to the geography. The Space Coast's location makes it perfect for fish from both the sub-tropical and temperate climate zones, which boosts the diversity and amount of fish found in the region.  Fresh water game includes huge catfish, crappies, largemouths, warmouths, bluegills, redears, spots, chain and redbreast pickerels.  The area is especially known for sea trout and redfish although other popular saltwater catches include snook, flounder, ladyfish, tarpon, black drum and sheepshead.  In fact, the Indian River Lagoon has been scientifically proven as having the fasters growing and largest sea trout in the world.  Once known as the sea trout capital, current conservation practices are returning the massive "gator" trout to the area in large numbers. 

For those ever-popular redfish, check out the Titusville area for tournaments like the IFA Redfish Tour, which choose the location because it has the best flats for redfishing anywhere. Schools of 100 or more of the fish, ranging from 8 to 12 pounds size, are regularly visible in the flats.  The highly desirable catch can also be found in both the Indian and Banana Rivers, as well as the Mosquito Lagoon, during the spring and summer months.  Snook are plentiful  in the Port Canaveral area where charter fishing offers live baiting for near and offshore trolling for the abundant Spanish mackerel, as well as shark, king mackerel, cobia, tripletail and mahi-mahi.  Many locals and guests on vacation will opt out of the adventurous deep sea charters and instead try their luck at nearby Jetty Park.  Apart from the breath-taking views walking out over the Atlantic on the rock jetty, the park offers a bait shop, snack bar, campsite, bathrooms and showers.  The jetty also offers the chance go get out in the sea far enough not to catch your line in the rocks.  Many choose Jetty Park because family members not interested in fishing can stay entertained watching cruise ships, sunning at the beach or exploring the playground.  There is also ample affordable parking available. 

Another location offering activities for the family on vacation is the Cocoa Beach Pier, a historical landmark 800 feet over the ocean.  The catch at the Cocoa Beach Pier can include bluefish, flounder, King and Spanish mackerel, sea bass, sheepshead, snapper, tarpon, trout, weakfish, and whiting.  The Pier offers plenty of dining and shopping choices, as well as a great beach and fun surf for the rest of the family.  Cocoa Beach's Thousand Islands mangroves is a popular spot to fish the day away in peace and quiet surrounded by species a plenty.  At Manatee Sanctuary at the north end of the Banana River, look for giant black drum tailing on the flats in huge numbers like the redfish at the north end of the county.  The lagoons, lakes and rivers encompass hundreds of miles to satisfy just about any fishing fantasy.  For the few they miss, there are several surf and off-shore fishing opportunities and tournaments based at Port Canaveral.  Surf fishing from the beach often brings in pompano, whiting, cobia, Spanish mackerel and sharks while the off-shore charters provide ample fishing on both sides of the Gulf Stream for marlin, sailfish, tuna and dolphin.  Thanks in large part to the many area refuges and the forward thinking of the local water management district, county and nature alliance groups, fish populations across the county remain quite protected and healthy.  From the ocean to the salt and freshwater marshes to the inlets and lagoons, you just can't beat the Space Coast when it comes to making a fisherman's dream come true.

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