Reef Fishing

Reef Fishing in the Florida Keys

Reef fishing in the Florida Keys can be summed up in one word – Incredible. It offers beautiful surroundings, terrific fishing opportunities and an unforgettable experience.

Reef Fishing:  Fishing along the deep reef provides opportunities to catch a variety of fish.  Primarily targeting the snappers and groupers, reef fishing also gives the fisherman an opportunity to catch mackerel, tuna, and an occasional mahi-mahi on the deep reefs.

Patch Reef Fishing:  In shallower waters, the patch reefs offer a lot of action.  This is a great beginning for kids and the first-time angler.  Grunts, silver porgies, hogfish, groupers, mangrove and mutton snappers are just a few of the many species of fish to be found on patch reefs.  Patch reef fishing offers an alternative on rough and windy days.

A chartered reef fishing trip is well worth it, because all you have to do is show up and bring your own lunch.  Everything else is included.   The boat is ready to go when you arrive and includes all the fishing tackle, bait, and gear.  The Captain and mate are experienced fishing guides who know where to find the fish and how to hook them.  With full electronics, the boat is well equipped to find fish.  The boat’s cabin is air conditioned and comfortable.

Just to provide a general idea of the many fantastic places to fish in the northern part of the Keys- we have selected some of the more noted Florida Keys reefs that are located off the coast: (Note some are no take areas ) So fishing is around these locations.

  • The Elbow – offering a majestic coral reef, littered with several historic shipwrecks
  • Molasses Reef – with magnificent coral heads and abundant beautiful tropical marine life – the reef touches the surface in places then slopes down to a depth of about fifty-five feet.
  • French Reef – with swim throughs, tunnels and coral caves – large formations of elk horn and stag horn corals
  • Hole in the Wall – located near the Molasses reef, the hole in the wall is an area that has a large swim through
  • Triumph Reef – part of the northern section of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary near John Pennekamp.
  • Long Reef – large reef area running south for two miles, running almost parallel to Elliot Key, south of Triumph Reef.
  • Ajax Reef – a coral reef located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and also within Biscayne National Park
  • Pacific Reef – about 3 miles southeast of Elliott Key
  • Turtle Reef – depth range from 10′ to 25′ – located off the community of Ocean Reef and the northernmost reef in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, immediately to the east of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
  • Carysfort Reef – in the northern end of the National Marine Sanctuary. The depth range of this site is 3ft to 80 ft with a lighthouse that stands 112 feet tall. The Light house was built in 1852 and is the oldest functioning lighthouse of it’s kind in the Florida Keys. The Reef was named after H.M.S. Carysfort, a ship that ran aground in 1770.
  • Pickles Reef – Named after a ship filled with pickle barrels that hit and sank on the reef.  The depth ranges from 10′ to 25′ ansd is located about two and a half miles from Molasses Reef.
  • Conch Reef – The reef is three quarters of a mile long with white sandy areas. Made up of numerous coral heads, rocks, vast areas of tube sponges and lots of purple sea fans. Water depth ranges from 5 feet to 30 feet. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area.
  • Davis Reef – is easily accessible and heavily used. Attracts a large number of divers and recreational fishermen. This is a Sanctuary Preservation Area.
  • Crocker Reef – offers a medium water depth of 35-45 feet and a wall dropping from 45-95 feet. There are large sponges, scattered coral and gorgonians.  A Spanish galleon shipwreck named “San Jose”, went aground over 265 years ago on the northern edge of this reef.
  • Alligator Light House – The USS Alligator, was the newest member of U.S. Navy and launched at Boston in 1820, after a career of chasing pirates and slave ships, The USS Alligator was sunk in a battle upon the reef after unloading it’s contents. The light house was eventually built and finished on November 25, 1873. Located roughly three miles south of the southern end of Upper Matecumbe Key. The light is 136 feet (41 m) above the water. The water depth around the lighthouse ranges from 3 to 8 feet

A nice on-line chart of the off shore reefs

The Florida Keys offers a wide variety of reef fish that can create the enjoyment of a terrific fishing experience:

  • Yellow Tail Snapper
  • Mangrove Snapper
  • Mutton Snapper
  • Grouper
  • Amberjack
  • Cobia
  • Baracuda

Make your plans today to contact Captain Dana Banks for your next Florida Keys Sport Fishing Charter!

Call (305) 394-7420  or Fill in the form below:


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