• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On February 19, 2018
  • Comments
  •  3

In the spirit of my past two columns on travel related fishing, I cruised down to the Miami Boat show this week and had a quick half day to blow off so of course, I went fishing.

I’m not too familiar with the bottom fishing in Ft. Lauderdale, but I hopped on the 85 foot party boat Catch My Drift at the Fishing Headquarters Marina Capt. Stu ran out about a half mile off the beaches and dropped anchor on a reefy area in 50 feet of water. A chum bag was deployed off the stern and Bermuda chubs along with some triggerfish immediately swooped into the slick.

The key to success on the Ft. Lauderdale reef was a standard hi-lo rig equipped with a 30-inch section of 30-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon, 75-pound Spro barrel swivel up top, two dropper loops tied about 8 inches then another 8 inches, then an overhand knot on the end for a 3-ounce bank sinker. Size #4 Owner Octopus hooks were looped on the droppers. First mate Waylan was kind enough to give me some strips of blue runner and squid tentacles to use as baits. As soon as the baits hit bottom, the action came fast and furious.

The cool deal about reef fishing is the variety you can tangle with. I must’ve landed 50 fish with species including triggerfish, filefish, parrotfish, red toro, red grouper, yellowtail snapper, margate, grunt, mutton snapper, moray eels and sharpnosed sharks.

All fish were able to be subdued with my Shimano Stradic 5000 reel latched onto a three-piece St. Croix travel rod TIS70MHF, which is clutch in a pinch when you need to have a rod that can handle decent fish up to 20 pounds. On those reef trips, yellowtail snapper will most times be in the middle of the water column following the chum up to the bag, but those in the know will be bouncing right on the bottom with the “chicken rig” to pull on the bigger grouper, snapper and such.

If you have a little patience, tie on a 2-ounce Spro bucktail, tip it with a nice 4 to 5-inch strip bait and bounce it around down there. Large red grouper and mutton snapper will eagerly pounce on the larger offering. Check beforehand if the boat allows braided line on deck and use it if allowed as you can feel the immediate pecks and strikes from reef fish to set the hook proper. The fast and furious action on the Ft. Lauderdale reef put enough juice back into my system to get me through the rest of the Jersey winter.

Suggested Gear


Blue Label Fluorocarbon

Incredible impact and abrasion resistance. Fast sinking. Superior tensile and knot strength. The original FC Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon leader material allows you to use a smaller test leader than comparable leader materials.



Power Swivels

These amazing swivels are made of high-grade stainless steel with a gunmetal black finish. They offer super smooth rotation and unbelievable strength and durability. SPRO Power Swivels are 1.5 times stronger than standard barrel swivels.



Bank Sinkers

Bank Sinkers are typically preferred for bottom fishing applications, where its tapered hexagonal shape will help to prevent it from becoming snagged in wrecks, reefs, hard bottom, and other structure. Available from TackleDirect ranging from 1/2oz up to 24 oz.



Chrome Bucktails

SPRO Chrome Bucktail Jigs are unlike any other jigs on the market. Their unique head shape and eyelet placement help bring these lures to life. With blazing color, a holographic finish, and bulging eyes, they put fish at your mercy.



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