When I get calls from clients in the winter months and I tell them the patch reefs are offering some great fishing I get asked these questions:

What is a Patch Reef Fishing?

Florida Keys Patch Reef fishing is a local term for fishing shallow water reefs, rock piles, coral heads and small ship wrecks inside the Florida Keys reef in 10-40ft of water.

What Can we Catch When We Fish the Patch Reefs? 

The big coral heads, smaller reefs, rock piles and shallow wrecks in these depths inside the barrier reef will hold numerous Snappers, groupers, mackerels, barracudas, jacks, mangrove snappers, hog fish, porgies, cobia, sharks and more. I always try to get my clients a couple very big Mutton Snappers on the patch reefs using a trade secret technique.  Check out the pictures below of the big Mutton Snappers my clients have caught in 10ft. of water on the patch reefs off Key Largo only 3 miles from shore.

 When is the Best Time to Fish the Patch Reefs? 

 Patch reef fishing can offer action year round, but when in the windy and cooler months (December-February) in the Florida Keys the patch reef fishing is at its peak. The best days to fish the patch reefs are on cooler windy days when we can not get outside the reef.




How to Catch Mutton Snappers in the Florida Keys on the Patch Reefs

What Tackle do We Use?

We use ultra light spinning rods on the patch reefs, similar to pan fish and walleye rods to catch these fish making it the ultimate in light tackle fun fishing. Freaking fun fishing! We can catch lots of fish and maybe a few for the frying. If you enjoy casting and hooking fish this style of fishing is similar to walleye and bass fishing up north. Clients are casting the entire trip and hooking their own fish.

How to Find Fishing Spots in Florida Keys

If you can afford to do so I would recommend purchasing an Atlas Trax (https://atlastrax.com)but if not use Google Earth. This is not a paid promotion or marketing scheme. Atlas Trax does not pay me to speak about their product, I really just like using it. Here is a tip for those that don’t already know this, but as you are scouting at home on the computer using Google Earth, make sure to learn how to use the time slider took to your advantage. Scroll back through the time slider and look for scans that google earth completed on days when it was nice out for fishing around the time you planning your fishing trip, look for the boats fishing a patch reef fishing then drop a g.p.s location pin and save it to your GPS on the boat.  Use the historical data as your personal log book. You have to put in the hours to find the data, but it will be worth it if you find a good fishing spot.


Mutton Snapper Fishing off Key Largo Windy Day


Hook and Cook(Shore Lunch)

It is a tradition in the Florida Keys for charter clients to take their catch to a local restaurant so they can prepare you the ultimate hook and cook experience, my northern clients call this a “shore lunch” experience.

Lazy Days http://www.lazydaysislamorada.com in the Islamorada offers the absolute best hook and cook experience in the Florida Keys. You have to make reservations well in advance not to mention the view of the Alligator Reef Light house is awesome. Highly recommended.


Seakeeper, a Luxury Comfort Fishing Experience for my Clients

Episode 21: How to Fish the Florida Keys Patch Reefs/Shallow Reef FishingEpisode 21: How to Fish the Florida Keys Patch Reefs/Shallow Reef FishingAnother patch reef windy day advantage has been our new Seakeeper 2. It basically shuts down the 15 knot days on the patch reefs into crazy comfortable fun for my clients now. We have the advantage over all the smaller boats in the Florida Keys fishing fleet without a Seakeeper. Anchor fishing on the patch reefs now feels like fishing from the dock. Not to mention getting to and from the spot with ease in gusty breeze as Seakeeper works wonders while underway to and from the fishing spot.  My clients are left speechless at the end of the day.  I am very grateful and lucky to have 1 fo the first 10 Seakeeper 2 off the assembly line! I want the best for my clients, I can’t control the fishing but I can offer the best possible ocean fishing experience with quality equipment.  Learn more about how the Seakeeper 2 works at https://www.seakeeper.com. Check out the demonstration video on our website (insert website page with video) We are very lucky to be the only 24ft boat in the United States with a Seakeeper 2. Check out the December 2018 issue of Florida Sportsman Magazine, we were the feature article https://tavernierfishingcharters.com/florida-sportsman-article-2018.pdf


Stay tuned for future podcasts about how to fish the patch reefs in the Florida Keys. I will talk about anchoring secrets, baits and reveal a secret fishing chumming tip and a trade secret for catching big muttons on the patch reefs. If you fish the patch reefs in the Florida Keys or can relate to this style of fishing in your areas I highly suggest you stay tuned for future Podcast about how to fish the patch reefs in the Florida Keys.


How to Catch Mutton Snappers on the Patch Reefs