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Florida Fishing Nearshore Reefs with Patrick Smith

Along the Atlantic coast of Florida, the largest coral reef ecosystem in the continental United States, known as the Florida Reef System, runs from the bottom end of the Florida Keys north to Jupiter. This is about 350 miles. This natural reef is the third largest in the world. Mixed into this natural environment are a large number of wrecks and artificial structure. Combined, the amount of relief available to anglers is impressive. With plentiful options for rock piles, reef edges, low profile wrecks, high relief wrecks and a huge offering of structure, outstanding Florida fishing action awaits.

Reefs and wrecks afford fishermen some of the best Floria fishing opportunities to wrangle a wide variety of species. Florida reef fishing is a veritable pandoras box of porgies, snapper, grouper, kingfish, blackfin tuna, dolphin, amberjack, African pompano, sailfish, wahoo and a whole lot more. Trolling, fishing planers, kite fishing, casting lures, jigging, live baiting, dead baiting, chunking, chumming, drifting, anchoring or whatever tactics you prefer are all viable options for fishing Florida along the southern Atlantic coast. You just never know what is going to be biting. Having a plan and an assortment of tackle can help. But, hey, you can still crush with a single rod and reel. Just be smart and know your limitations.

For this In The Spread fishing video, we teamed up with Capt. Patrick Smith. He is not an Instagram star or someone who toots his own horn, but his reputation as one of the fishiest dudes on the coast is solidified. Patrick guides and fishes over 300 days a year. He is an unassuming fishing and hunting intellect that guides his clients to trophy catches year round. Whether you are fishing nearshore reefs and wrecks, inshore, inlets, canals, backcountry, freshwater or hunting gators, Patrick Smith is an highly respected professional. For this Florida fishing video, Patrick is going to show you a simple approach to nearshore reef fishing. He will break down catching bait, getting out to productive waters, using electronics, setting up a drift, live chumming, how he uses jigs and poppers, how long to work an area, his go to tackle for everyday fishing, as well as share several savvy fishing tips that will benefit you on the water.

Starting in 20 feet of water and out to 300, you can have good fishing. It depends on your specific area, but the action is there, as well as the eats. Patrick will share with you where, in terms of depth, he likes to start fishing and how to manage your drift. For this type of fishing, there is no reason to anchor up, so your boat will be moving the entire time. You have to consider that you are fishing in the Gulf Stream and even though it doesn't seem like the current is moving that fast, you will cover a fair amount of ground quickly. Understanding how to take advantage of he current and your positioning is crucial. How you position your boat makes a huge difference. Patrick will share a few key tips that will help you get your boat in the right position relative to the current and structure. In the course of the time you are on the water, you will need to reset your drift several times.

Aside from your drift, you have to consider whether the grounds you set up on are holding fish. How are the fish relating to the structure you are fishing? Fish like snapper, kingfish and blackfin tuna will hold down current, so they can tuck in behind cover and not expend so much energy. The bigger apex predators like big grouper, amberjacks, pompano and jack fish can be found up current. One spot may be super productive and another 30 yards away may not be, so being in the right spot starting off is important. How do you know? Your electronics can help. Patrick will discuss what he looks for on his machine and how this helps him determine where to actually start. If you are seeing activity on your machine, throwing out some live chum baits will help attract more fish to your boat and the area you are fishing in.

One of the quickest ways to get the action going is to drop some jigs to the bottom and start cranking them up through the water column. You can get fish in the boat in short order utilizing this fishing technique. There is a certain jigging technique that works well and you will see how to jig fish this way. A lot of what you will initially hook up with will be false albacore “falsies” or bonito. As the action picks up and the chum begins to attract other species, you will get mackerel and dolphin. When Patrick starts to see surface activity, he will cast poppers.

There are a load of big sharks on the reefs, so you angling needs to be tight. He really need to get those fish to the boat quickly or your catch will get eaten. Having the right tackle can make all the difference. Patrick is not using heavy tackle for this presentation, as he is not specifically targeting the big predators, but rather demonstrating how to get started with nearshore reef fishing. Nonetheless, you still need to have tackle that can get the job done.

Patrick will go into detail about all the tackle, rods, reels, jigs and poppers he uses and why he selects those specific lures. He will show you the knots and connections he uses for his reef fishing rigs. See which hooks he prefers for hooking live baits and how he gets them to swim different ways for different purposes. His program for nearshore reef fishing is very straightforward and something you could put together with relative ease.

We hope this basic reef fishing video featuring Capt. Patrick Smith helps you gain a deeper perspective on how dynamic your Florida fishing can be with just a little more knowledge. His fishing tips and techniques are proven and easily applied to your own program. This is a great way to add another tool to your fishing arsenal. There is no reason to struggle with catching fish along this amazing reef system. Go with knowledge and feel far more confident about basic reef fishing.

Fishing with Patrick: http://www.swamptosea.com/

Total time: 52:19
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