Key West Reef Fishing
Key West reef fishing is great for lots of action and great eating fish. There are also many patch reefs located in between Key West and the reef line for those windy days. Patch reefs can provide plenty of action and calmer water, especially during the winter when cold fronts approach. I also fish the Gulf of Mexico reefs when the wind is blowing out of the south.
Key West Atlantic Reefs
Key West has a huge barrier reef located south of Key West and the Florida Keys about 6 miles. Key West also has a deeper secondary reef line or bar located less than a mile past the reef in many areas. The barrier reef off Key West is one of my favorites to fish for yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper and grouper. If you fish the Atlantic reefs, you may also encounter red grouper, jacks, african pompano, mackerel and may even run into a mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna or sailfish.
Key West Gulf Reefs
If you fish the gulf, you have shot at cobia, king mackerel, permit, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, mangrove snapper, sharks and several others. Fishing the reefs around Key West is a great way for constant action all day long.
The Florida Reef – Wikipedia
The Florida Reef (also known as the Great Florida Reef, Florida reefs, Florida Reef Tract and Florida Keys Reef Tract) is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It is the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef and Belize Barrier Reef). It lies a few miles seaward of the Florida Keys, is about 4 miles (6 to 7 km) wide and extends (along the 20 meter depth contour) 270 km (170 mi) from Fowey Rocks just east of Soldier Key to just south of the Marquesas Keys. The barrier reef tract forms a great arc, concentric with the Florida Keys, with the northern end, in Biscayne National Park, oriented north-south and the western end, south of the Marquesas Keys, oriented east-west.
The rest of the reef outside Biscayne National Park lies within John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Isolated coral patch reefs occur northward from Biscayne National Park as far as Stuart, in Martin County. Coral reefs are also found in Dry Tortugas National Park west of the Marquesas Keys. There are more than 6,000 individual reefs in the system. The reefs are 5,000 to 7,000 years old, having developed since sea levels rose following the Wisconsinan glaciation.
- Florida NOAA’s Coral Reef Information System Accessed December 14, 2010
- Florida’s Coral Reefs Florida Department of Environmental Protection Accessed December 14, 2010.
Florida Keys Conservation: National Marine Sanctuary Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History Accessed December 14, 2010
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