Artificial reefs are holding a variety of species. A recent trip to a nearshore reef produced flounder, snapper, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, redfish and sharks, all from a single anchor setting. We fished a combination of surface baits free-lined with a small trace of wire ahead of the hook and bottom baits on light knocker rigs. The surface baits were nose-hooked and allowed to swim freely throughout the water column; the bottom baits were belly-hooked and dropped directly to the structure below. Small- to medium-sized scaled sardines and threadfin herring worked. When fishing artificial reefs, it's vital to get the anchor set in the sandy perimeter and not stuck in the structure. Discerning the difference on the bottom sonar is key. Having the anchor rigged so it will release allowing it to be pulled out backwards is always a good idea.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.