Bottom Fishing in Daytona Beach
There are plenty of great places to bottom fish off the coast of Daytona Beach. The sea bottom offers natural rock ledges protruding from the sand and beds of sea grasses and fan corals, all perfect homes for fish and other sea life. But wait, there's more! Lot's more!
Daytona Beach has one of the most extensive systems of artificial reefs in all of Florida!
It all began in 1980 with the sinking of the USS Mindanao 12 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach. The USS Mindanao is a 446 foot Liberty ship that carried supplies to American troops during World War II. After obtaining a permit from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Volusia County (home to Daytona Beach) purposefully sank the decommissioned ship in 85 feet of water. The main deck of the Mindanao is just 60 feet below the surface. Today the Mindanao is an oasis for sea life. She is a thriving habitat for hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates that make up a complex food chain from tiny crustaceans to the large predator fish we love to target.
The USS Mindanao was just the beginning!
The USS Mindanao in service during WWII >>>
The original permit issued to Volusia County by the Army Corps of Engineers for the creation of artificial reefs was for just 4 sites. In 1981, just one year after the sinking of the USS Mindanao, Volusia county began depositing discarded concrete culverts off the coast of Daytona Beach at 3 more sites in the hopes they too would become thriving artificial reefs.
For eight years these 4 sites were carefully monitored by the all volunteer Reef Research Dive Team. Their regular surveys of conditions on the Mindanoa and the concrete deposits reported increasing invertebrate encrustaceans such as barnacles and soft corals on the structures. This was soon followed by shrimp, crabs and then schools of bait fish and finally large predator species. Local fishermen were reporting more and more catches at all four sites.
By 1988, the original artificial reefs had become such a success that a permit was issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for 5 more artificial reef sites off the coast of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet, all under the jurisdiction of Volusia County. The artificial reef system was on!
A Bottom Fishing Paradise!
There are now 15 artificial reef sites offshore near Daytona Beach. The reefs are located from less than 1 mile to 33 miles off the coast in depths of 30 feet to 135 feet. On a typical bottom fishing trip with Captain Sean, you'll probably venture from 5 to 10 miles off the coast. This is far enough to catch large specimens and close enough to get plenty of fishing in on a four hour trip.
The reefs consist of a wide variety of clean discarded concrete structures, sunken vessels and even old military aircraft, all proven to be excellent marine habitat. The concrete structures include over 100 barge loads of culverts, bridge platforms, jersey barriers and utility poles.
Vessels sunk as part of Volusia County's artificial reef system include the 446' Mindanao, the 165' Antilles Star, the 165' Maxine D. and numerous old barges and tugboats including a 195' steel barge, the Argoil. There are also two dozen USN Intruders, retired 1960s era fighter planes! Two more vessels are planned to be added to the reefs after January 1, 2018, the 160' cargo ship Lady Philomena and the tug Everglades.
An astounding variety of Fish!
The bottom fishing opportunities of the artificial reefs near Daytona Beach are world class. The reefs are home to many varieties of Snapper and Grouper, including Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Lane Snapper, Scamp Grouper and even Goliath Grouper. Other species we love to target found on or above the reefs include Amberjacks, Cobia, Barracudas, Sheepshead, Flounder and Sea Bass.
You never know what you'll catch when fishing the artificial reefs near Daytona. Many species of sharks live on these reefs from Nurse Sharks to Whale Sharks. There are Triggerfish, Frogfish, Weakfish, Spadefish, Grunts and many more species. Even Manta Rays and Tarpon visit these reefs!
Take the Whole Family Bottom Fishing with Captain Sean
Bottom fishing with Captain Sean is a favorite for families with more time spent fishing than a typical trolling trip. Captain Sean has been fishing these reefs since they were first created in the 1980s. He is an expert on what to catch, when to catch them and what to catch them with!
Captain Sean also holds federal waters permits for Snapper and Grouper. Since federal waters begin just 3 nautical miles off the Florida Atlantic Coast, these permits are crucial to fishing legally in federal waters.
For fishing memories that will last a lifetime, take the whole family bottom fishing on Daytona's artificial reefs with Captain Sean.
For more information about Daytona's artificial reefs visit Volusia County Reef Research