A structure is an area where the depth or contours of the ocean or river bottom vary. A structure can be man-made or naturally occurring and can greatly affect the underwater habitat – sometimes even attracting fish.
Jetties are man-made structures that help keep the tides and currents from eroding the sand along a coastline. Often made out of rubble or rock, they’re used to protect boat docks, bays or the entrances to harbors. Jetties attract fish for the same reasons as natural rock reefs – they provide shelter, food and currents.
Another man-made structure is the artificial reef. Created to act as a habitat for reef fish, artificial reefs can help improve diving and fishing in certain areas. These man-made reefs come in various sizes and are made of different types of materials. They can be made from bridge rubble, concrete reef balls, old ships/boats or even old military items that have been cleaned according to Florida law. After these reefs have been completed, ocean life begins to form around them. The older they get, the more barnacles, algae and corals build up on them. This attracts small fish searching for a place to live, which also attracts larger fish, like grouper and amberjack, looking to feed on the smaller fish.
Shipwrecks tend to be some of the best places for fishing because they provide great hiding places for fish looking to escape the open, sandy ocean bottom. The sunken structure provides the perfect place for many types of fish to make their homes – and for larger fish to feed on the smaller fish. These wrecks attract both resident and visiting fish. Here you can find many types of fish, like grouper, snapper, amberjack, cobia, barracuda, sailfish and tuna. These wrecks can be a fisherman’s game fish paradise.
Man-made dams can also be great places to find game fish. This is true for small dams made of dirt in a local pond, as well as huge dams made of concrete. You can find some of the deepest water around dams, which makes them great places to find fish. Because they also tend to contain a lot of large rocks, they’re also home to large amounts of crayfish and baitfish, which means you can find great game fish here too.
Another great place to fish is in the spot where two bodies of water meet. When flow from two water sources merges together, it creates something called a rip. When there are strong tidal flows, food sources, such as shrimp, minnow and crabs are pushed into these rips. Larger game fish like to hang out here because they can sit in one spot and get food from two different sources. You can usually find a rip in locations where a bay connects with an ocean.
Nearshore Reefs and Shoals
You can find some of the best fishing around reefs and shoals. Reefs are particularly great places to fish because they hold a large variety of ocean life. Baitfish like to hide around water columns and bigger fish like to prey on the smaller fish.
You have many options for fishing around a reef. You can jig, bottom fish or troll your bait around the reef – all of these methods work, depending on the fish you’re trying to catch. Your best bet is to try to bring fish up from the bottom and get them to band together by chumming the water. You can catch anything from king mackerel to grouper, depending on which method you use.