Reef Fishing

The coral reef system off the coast of Fort Lauderdale is extensive and there are millions of fish inhabiting them; finding protective shelter and providing a vast food source for a huge variety of big game fish. These reefs are located just offshore in depths between 60ft and 80ft of water, but they extend further into deeper waters ranging from 350ft to 500ft.

Why is reef fishing so popular?

Anglers are attracted to the myriad of species available and the opportunity to catch large numbers of fish – some of which grow into extraordinary giants. We regularly catch fish such as snapper, grouper, tuna, kingfish, wahoo, barracuda, mahi-mahi, bonito, sharks and other exhilarating fish on the outside edges of reefs. Another exciting aspect of reef fishing is the challenge of keeping your fish on the line because they will dart into and around structure; getting your line tangled or broken in the process.

How does reef fishing work?

There are two techniques that we use. They both produce similar results and can catch the same species. My preferred method is trolling with an array of small strip baits on the surface, as well as two more baits fished on downriggers or deep planers. This allows us to cover a greater area and different depths. The other way is to slowly drift bait on light tackle and cast numerous lines into the water.

What makes reef fishing so effective?

Fish are attracted to reefs and there are thriving communities living there. There are always predators on the prowl that hungrily devour our bait at any time of the day and night. With so many hiding places for fish to find shelter, and a diversity of marine plant and animal life to sustain them; reefs are underwater cities that are occupied by millions of individuals. Anglers are guaranteed to catch many fish in such a hub of activity.

What baits do you use when reef fishing?

Live baits work best, but cut baits are also effective; as are combinations of lures and strip baits. Small bonito, mackerel, skipjack and mullet are great but you can use any other reef fish for bait as well. Using live squid is phenomenally successful.

When is reef fishing most commonly used?

It is ideal for anglers targeting specific reef fish such as grouper and snapper. These types of fish do not swim far into the open ocean and can only be found in reefs, or wrecks and rock piles. Anglers wishing to catch pelagic game fish will often find them surrounding the reefs as well. Reefs are always fantastic places to fish, especially the larger reef systems.


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