What’s Biting in Port Canaveral: The Fishing 411 for Spring 2015

Posted in: Harbortown Life- Apr 06, 2015 Comments Off

Fishing in Port Canaveral 

With each spring comes the arrival of local angler favorite, the cobia. This popular fish will start showing up near Port Canaveral in February, followed by much better numbers in March as the water temperatures begin rising. Cobia make great visual targets, as they enjoy basking in the springtime sunshine close to the surface.  Look for large manta rays and slowly approach them ready to cast near them if you see a cobia running by their side.

A fairly large fish, cobia may resemble sharks to the untrained eye, but look closely and you’ll notice the  brown color characteristic of the cobia. How big are cobia? Well, the average spring cobia caught in Port Canaveral weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. This great tasting fish makes a very enjoyable dinner when you catch one.

Generally, Port Canaveral anglers like to use brightly colored ‘cobia’ jigs, such as a Williamson surface pro popper, Storm 5-6 inch swimbait, or Rapala X-Rap lure; anglers have experienced success fishing for cobia with all of these lures. When in doubt, live bait is always a great go-to option if lures fail you. Try live baitfish, crab, or  a live eel and your chances will only increase to have a tight line with a cobia on the other end.

Some other targets for the spring fishing season at Port Canaveral include tripletail, whiting, pompano, and black drum. These can be caught on sand fleas or fresh frozen shrimp on the bottom.   The pompano typically like waters to be about 68 degrees and this time of year they are migrating north as the water warms up.

Port Canaveral Offshore Fishing

Port Canaveral angler snags a spring cobia!

Port Canaveral angler snags a spring cobia!

Which game fish will you run into this spring offshore near Port Canaveral? You might have already guessed it: cobia! As they migrate, cobia frequently swim with larger creatures and objects, so keep an eye out for rays hiding cobia beneath them, or turtles, sharks and even weed lines, buoys and other floatsam.

Choose a nice clear day with minimal cloud coverage for your Port Canaveral offshore cobia fishing trip. Don’t forget your polarized sunglasses, as most of your day will involve spotting cobia from your bow or boat tower.

Keep a couple bucktail lures handy, preferably in chartreuse colors. You can tip them with squid, live crab, shrimp, eel, or plastic curly grubs.

As the season advances, dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) begin stealing some of the glory from the migrating cobia near Port Canaveral.  These swift, acrobatic game fish have striking colors and weigh an average of 15 to 29 pounds, with bulls getting up to 60 pounds. You’ll find mahi-mahi near Port Canaveral from late spring through mid-summer, and then again in the fall.

Port Canaveral anglers usually troll for mahi-mahi with 30-50 pound test tackle and ballyhoo. Once a school of the fish are located, you might try fly casting, using a bait and switch technique, to get them into a feeding frenzy. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can be used in the same manner.

While they are riled up, throw the fly to the feeding mahi-mahi, and be ready for a good fight!

A Quick Word to the Wise: Before heading out on your fishing trip near Port Canaveral, make sure to check out the local Fishing Regulations so that you stay within the law and protect each species of fish for future angling enjoyment. 

Outdoor Cradle Storage for Large Fishing Boats

If you are in the market for a convenient spot to store your over-sized fishing boat near Port Canaveral, look into Harbortown Marina. Cradle storage for large fishing boats is a great option that allows you to keep your boat out of the water when it’s not in use, with the convenience of daily splashing. Plus – It’s a short trip from Harbortown Marina through the Canaveral Lock and out to the ocean for your trolling pleasure.

[View Harbortown Marina’s Current Specials]

HT Map with Port Canaveral_1

“Spring Forward” at Harbortown Marina

Posted in: Harbortown Life- Mar 11, 2015 Comments Off

Are you looking for a new home for your catamaran? Do you have an over-sized fishing boat that needs outdoor cradle storage and daily splashing? If so, then it’s time to “Spring Forward” at Harbortown with our latest special offer:

All new Spring Annual Contracts will have their deposit and 1st month’s rent deferred for 30 days!

We have wet slips available, including some that are ideal for catamarans. Or, if you are looking for cradle storage for your large fishing boat, you’ve come to the right place!

As always, we splash boats 7 days a week, 364 days per year, 8am to 4pm within an hour. Requesting a splash in a cinch – Just call our office, or use the Harbortown “On-the-Go” app, available for iOS and Android.

For more information about the “Spring Forward” Special, or to request a tour, call the office at 321-453-0160, or email us at harbortownmarina@earthlink.net.

Marine Flea Market 2015 at Harbortown Marina

Posted in: Harbortown Life- Mar 03, 2015 Comments Off
When: March 28-29, 2015
8:00am – 4:00pm daily
Where: Harbortown Marina
2700 Harbortown Drive
Merritt Island, FL  32952
Admission/Parking: FREE

About this Event:

This family-friendly event will be held March 28-29, 2015, right here at Harbortown Marina! Located in Merritt Island, Florida, just 2.5 miles west of Port Canaveral, Harbortown Marina makes a fantastic venue for this fun-filled event. Expect a ton of local vendors offering marine equipment, water sports equipment, fishing gear, hand-made artwork, and a variety of other unique nautical themed items.

Rob the “Commodore”

Make sure to stop by Harbortown Marina’s booth to say hello and check out our Current Specials. We will have giveaways available, so come by early while supplies last. Rob the “Commodore” will make an appearance for the day, which is always a delight for the kids.

While you’re at the flea market, we suggest visiting the on-site restaurant, Nautical Spirits Bar & Grill. Order a plate of delicious local sea food, or grab an ice-cold drink before heading back out into the action.

Kick off this year’s boating season with a day spent browsing the items you’ll need for the season, while enjoying the beautiful marina atmosphere! We’ll see you there.

Click here for directions to the Marine Flea Market.

Coming Soon to the Port Canaveral Area: Yachts, Boats, and Jobs!

Posted in: Harbortown Life- Feb 20, 2015 Comments Off

Port Canaveral area residents and boaters alike will be happy to hear that there will soon be a good number of additional jobs in the marine industry coming to our corner of Brevard County. Two boat manufacturers will be setting up shop in the area, a move that will pair nicely with the expansion of the local tourism industry surrounding Port Canaveral.

Merritt Island Boat Works Brings Jobs to Merritt Island

Merritt Island Boat Works announced earlier this month that it will open a new manufacturing facility at the former Sea Ray Boats plant on Merritt Island.

This new yacht manufacturing facility will bring a capital investment of $16 million to Brevard County as well as at least 380 jobs (with an average wage of $45,000) to the Merritt Island/Port Canaveral area by 2018. Merritt Island Boat Works chose Brevard County over locations in North and South Carolina due to the “available workforce and access to U.S. and international markets”.

Merritt Island Boat Works is currently accepting applications and resumes for employment. Click Here to Apply.

Sea Ray Boats to Reopen Facility in Sykes Creek

Sea Ray L650 Fly

Shortly after Merritt Island Boat Works’ announcement, Sea Ray Boats disclosed that it would reopen its manufacturing facility in Sykes Creek, creating an estimated 100 jobs over the next year. The facility neighbors Harbortown Marina to the west on Sea Ray Drive, and will specialize in work on the company’s L-Class yachts.

Once a major employer in the area, Sea Ray employed over 1,500 workers during its peak in operations. The company suffered greatly with the economic downturn in recent years, and began paring down its operations until its boat manufacturing capabilities were limited to Palm Coast. The move by Sea Ray to bring manufacturing back to Merritt Island not only means that the company is growing again, but that there is an economy to support that growth!

Though Sea Ray’s operations will be nowhere near its former size, this could just be the beginning.


The plans by Sea Ray and Merritt Island Boat works to manufacture boats and yachts in Brevard County is a tell-tale sign that the area is developing a strong niche in the marine industry. As the economy, locally and across the country, continues to improve, it’s possible that the Port Canaveral area could expect even more expansion in boat manufacturing jobs and other areas of the marine industry.

There is a lot happening here in Brevard County with the recent tourism boom in conjunction with Port Canaveral, the Titusville Area Renaissance, and now this apparent “boating boom”, it can only mean more job opportunities for the community, and a better quality of life.

We locals will keep our fingers crossed that this trend continues, and we hope you will too!