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Cocoa Beach, FL Fishing: The Quintessential Beach Town

Cocoa Beach, FL Fishing: The Quintessential Beach Town
Published: Sunday, June 27th, 2021
Updated on: Sunday, June 27th, 2021

Cocoa Beach is a coastal city that’s just an hour’s drive east of Orlando. It faces the great Atlantic within the Space Coast with Cape Canaveral to its northern border, Crescent Beach to the south, and Banana River to its west. Given its location, the city is known to be one of the Sunshine State’s top tourist destinations, not to mention a favorite hub for retirees. This is because it boasts miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches, the best views of the Atlantic, world-class accommodations, and of course, fun attractions and activities. And because it’s nestled right in the heart of the world-renowned Space Coast, the city of Cocoa Beach isn’t just about the sun and the sea, but about space exploration as well—definitely the perfect spot for a family summer vacation.

Cocoa Beach and the areas around the city were first inhabited by Native Americans. Following the American Civil War, a family of freed slaves settled in the area, which was called Oceanus at that time. Within the next few decades, more and more people started settling in and around the area until the town of Cocoa Beach was established in 1925. Throughout the years following the establishment of the township, Cocoa Beach and the areas around it have seen major developments with the construction of several roads and the Patrick Air Force Base being some of the most notable. In 1957, the town of Cocoa Beach was finally incorporated into a city.

Today, Cocoa Beach is a vibrant and thriving community of a little over 11,000 living all year round within its borders. During summers, however, the population significantly grows as seasonal residents flock to the city. Aside from that, the city also welcomes between 1,500 and 2,000 visitors every year, making tourism one of the city’s prime economic boosters.

Cocoa Beach Fishing

With the Banana River to the west and the great Atlantic Ocean to the east, access to great fishing spots in Cocoa Beach is not a problem. Banana River, for instance, is a 31-mile lagoon that features salt marshes, tidal flats, and swamps that carry angler favorites including tarpon, snook, crevalle jack, black drum, redfish, speckled trout, ladyfish, and a whole lot of other targets. This only means that you won’t have to go too far to catch a trophy fish. Anglers can choose to go on a four- to eight-hour fishing excursion where they can enjoy casting their lines together with other like-minded fishing enthusiasts. Longer private chartered trips are also available, perfect for those looking to explore these bountiful waters.

Another way to enjoy fishing the waters of Banana River is through kayak fishing. Many serious anglers actually prefer fishing on a kayak in this body of water because it’s not only challenging, but the tranquillity of paddling through the mangroves can be relaxing.. And if you’re lucky, you can even get up close and personal to the local wildlife like some manatees or some dolphins frolicking in the water, not to mention the many species of birds. Yes, it’s like you’re having a date with Mother Nature herself.

On the other side of the city, you can either fish straight off the beach or on one of the fishing piers dotted along the Atlantic coast. Either way, an angler—may he or she be experienced or a first-timer—can certainly take advantage of the bountiful water near the shores without having to set foot on a boat. But just because you’re fishing inshore, it doesn’t mean that you can only catch easy targets here as tough fighters such as crevalle jack, pompano, snook, redfish, tarpon, wahoo, and even some species of sharks are known to be caught in these waters. The best thing about these spots is that even if you don’t own a fishing gear or if you’ve left your fishing gear at home, you can always go to the tackle and bait shops scattered around these areas that will be more than happy to help you with all your fishing essentials.  

Now, for some real rod-bending action, we highly recommend deep-sea fishing either on the Gulf Stream or head out to the open ocean right in the middle of the Atlantic. Gulf Stream (or “The Other Side” as locals have come to call it) is the area up north of the city, beyond Port Canaveral. The depth here ranges from 500 feet to well over 1000 and features strong currents and warm water that flows from the Straits of Florida. This favorite offshore fishing spot also features reefs and wrecks that provide shelter to many large fish including goliath grouper, permit, cobia, amberjack, barracuda, and some sharks. Furthermore, huge pelagic fish such as blue and white marlin, blackfin tuna, sailfish, and mahi-mahi tend to dwell in these areas as well. So if you’re looking for a real adventure where you can test your limits, you might as well go deep-sea fishing.


Top Ten Fish in Cocoa Beach, FL

The top ten fish species in Cocoa Beach, FL are tarpon, redfish, permit, snook, blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, white and blue marlin, crevalle jack, wahoo, and mako and blue shark.

Cocoa Beach, FL Fishing: The Quintessential Beach Town Fish species
Crevalle Jack 
Crevalle Jack  fish

Habitat: River, Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Flats Backcountry, Wreck

Weight: 15 - 60 Pounds

Length: 15" - 49"

Snook  fish

Habitat: Inshore, Flats, Backcountry

Weight: 12 - 29 Pounds

Length: 16" - 50"

Shortfin Mako Shark
Shortfin Mako Shark fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 150 - 300 Pounds

Length: 72" - 150"

Blue Marlin 
Blue Marlin  fish

Habitat: Offshore, Open Water

Weight: 200 - 400 Pounds

Length: 132" - 197"

Tarpon  fish

Habitat: Inshore, Flats, Backcountry

Weight: 25 - 63 Pounds

Length: 48" - 96"

Blue Shark
Blue Shark fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 60 - 121 Pounds

Length: 72" - 157"

Blackfin Tuna

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 2 - 20 Pounds

Length: 7" - 43"


Habitat: Inshore, Flats, Offshore, Reefs, Jetties

Weight: 9 - 60 Pounds

Length: 24" - 48"

Seasonal Fishing in Cocoa Beach

Florida is called The Sunshine State for a reason. That’s because it tends to be warm here for most of the year—yes, including winters from December to February when the temperatures are slightly lower. Summers, on the other hand, can be long, hot, and particularly humid with July being the hottest month.

That said, yes, you can pretty much go fishing in Cocoa Beach any time you want—weather permitting, of course. That’s because even though it can be warm here all year long, extreme weather such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tropical cyclones can still occur any time of the year. That’s why we highly suggest checking out the weather bulletin first before going on a fishing trip in Cocoa Beach.


3 Must-do’s in Cocoa Beach

1. Charter Fishing

Cocoa Beach is surrounded by some of the most bountiful bodies of water in the world—from the Banana River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. This is why the city often welcomes anglers from all over the globe every year. And how can you experience the best fishing in Cocoa Beach, through a fishing charter, of course!


2. Lounging Under the Sun 

How else can you truly experience the beautiful white sand beaches of Cocoa Beach, right? And because the beach stretches for miles along the Atlantic side of the city, finding the perfect spot to fully appreciate the sun and the sand wouldn’t be a problem!


3. Riding the Waves

Aside from being an angler’s paradise, Cocoa Beach is also a haven for surfers. In fact, it boasts the world’s largest surf shop, the Ron Jon Surf Shop, which offers sales and rentals for all your surfing needs. Aside from conventional surfing, you can also try kitesurfing—an equally exhilarating way to ride those waves!