Anyone that has spent any time chasing fish has probably already figured out that to find the fish you must first find bait and structure. Miami anglers are fortunate enough to have access to both artificial wrecks and natural coral reefs.
Artificial wrecks are scattered all along the coast with the greatest concentration located right off the coast of Miami Beach and Key Biscayne. Once you travel south of the Fowey Rocks light house the bottom comes to life with multiple reefs spanning all of the way down the Florida Keys.
Both the natural reefs as well as artificial wrecks are home to a large number of popular game fish. Exactly which type of structure you decide to fish depends largely on the target species.
Artificial wrecks have been strategically placed at various depths throughout the county. Certain species of fish tend to gravitate to those structures stationed in their favorite depths.
Fish such as amberjack, red snapper, vermillion snapper, snowy, and warsaw grouper tend to prefer the deeper wrecks in the 240’ plus range. Kingfish, wahoo, mutton snapper, grouper, cobia, and african pompano can be found in wrecks from 80’ to 200’ feet or so.
Other fish species such as barracuda, jacks, yellowtail and mangrove snapper can be found in the shallower structures in waters less than 80’.
If you’re looking to catch yellowtail, mutton, or mangrove snapper then you want to fish the reefs and ledges lying in 40’–70’ of water. The most consistent catches will normally occur in the waters stretching from Fowey Rock down to Pacific Light off northern Key Largo.
Waters to the north can be very productive but the fish seem to concentrated in smaller areas making them more challenging to catch. Anchoring and chumming with frozen block chum is the best way to target fish in these areas.
Fishing wrecks can be done in several ways. Anchoring is a great way to fish these structures when water depths and weather conditions permit. Deep spots can also be targeted by drifting over them or power drifting baits near the bottom with live bait or a chunk of fresh bait.
Once you’ve deployed the bait, hold on tight because you may be in for a surprise. You never really know what you’re going to catch next.