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Miami Reef Fishing Report

Miami Fishing Reef Fishing this week was great. The conditions were just perfect for a little Yellowtail fishing this week. We had flat calm seas and a nice north current. We had about a 4 ounce current in 45 feet of water. Wind were light at about 5 knots from the south east. These conditions let us anchor in the best position for Yellow Tail snapper fishing. Up current from the reef and just a little out side and deeper.

Once anchored the first step is to put out the ground chum. We next take a mixed bag of fresh pilchards and thread herring and cut chunks and feed them slowly into the chum slick. We fish a variety of rigs and baits to target the large variety of predators that work the off shore reefs. A live pilchard fished on 12lb spinning gear, attached to a 5/0 circle hook and a short piece of #5 wire is fished on the surface. That day we caught a few Kingfish, an Amberjack and a 50lb Reef Shark all on the live pilchard fished on the surface. The next rig that we fish is a live pilchard on the bottom. We were using a 30lb rig with a 60lb leader and a 7/0 circle hook. We use as little lead as possible to keep the bait on the bottom, today we were using 4 ounces. We caught a nice Mutton Snapper on the bottom rig.

Yellowtails on the Reef

Fishing for Yellowtail snapper off Miami and Miami Beach is a blast. The fish are smaller, about a pound to maybe just over two pound. We use mostly 8 – 12 pound spinning gear rigged with small hooks and very light weight. The hook I like to use is a size 1 offset beak hook in a brown color. We attach a small split shot or light egg sinker (1/64 to 1/4 ) to the rig. We also use small jigs in the 1/32 to 1/4 ounce wight depending on the current and depth of the water and the fish. The bait we use can be from small strips of king belly, bonita belly or Ballyhoo. We also use small sardines, shrimp or glass minnows fished whole.

The trick to Yellow Tail snapper fishing is “float” the bait back into the chum slick. The Yellow Tail snapper will be suspended off the bottom feeding on bits of the chum, looking for a better meal. The skill is to be able to find the fish. How far behind the boat and how deep are they in the water column. Now, get a bait to them every time and you will get a bite on every bait back. To find the fish we vary the size of the weight, fishing line and bait. Adjusting the rate of the line flowing off the reel will also adjust the trajectory of the bait.

Be Flexible

The Yellow Tail snapper will move through the chum slick so to keep up with them we will change our rig until we get bites. When the bites stop coming we change our gig again. Some times they will be right on the surface and we will fish with out any weight, two minutes later they are on the bottom and we catch them on the rig with a 1/4 ounce. Be flexible and keep changing until you start catching, if the bites stop, change things until you start catching again and become part of our Miami fishing report reef fishing. It is also important to be current and the Florida state fishing laws and rules.

Capt. Jay Cohen

Capt. Jay owns and operates the Miami fishing charter Capt. Jay’s Deep Sea Fishing. Capt. Jay has fished Miami for more than 40 years and holds several I.G.F.A world records and has won multiple tournaments, including the METT tournament and the fun fish boat in the Miami Billfish tournament. Capt. Jay discovered a new species of tilefish and had the honor of naming the fish (Bahama Tiger Tilefish).