How To Fish Nearshore Reefs For BIG Snook & Tarpon


If you like catching big fish, then you’re going to love this tip!

Today, we’re talking nearshore reef fishing for snook, tarpon, grouper, and kingfish.

Joe, our dad, and I went out exploring some nearshore reefs as a plan B a few months ago and we stumbled into some monster snook and nice tarpon.

To make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I’ve done a bit more nearshore and inshore reef fishing and have fallen in love with it.

This type of fishing is so fun because you never know what you’re going to catch and in this video, I’ll share with you the strategies I use to catch fish with both live bait and artificial lures.

Let’s dive in!

Catching Big Fish On Nearshore Reefs [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

➡ Click here to join the Insider Club

➡ Click here to get the DOA Swimmin’ Mullet

Catching Fish On Nearshore Reefs With Live Bait

My favorite way to fish these shallow reefs with live bait is to slow troll a pinfish across them.

Just put the hook up under the chin and out above their lips and freeline them as you use your trolling motor to go over the reef.

This method can catch snook, tarpon, grouper, kingfish, barracuda, and more.

I like trolling, but if you find a single spot where all your bites keep happening, then you could anchor down and pitch your pinfish over to that area.

Catching Fish On Nearshore Reefs With Artificial Lures

After I battled with some snook and tarpon on this trip, I was totally exhausted.

And since I had had enough for a little, I decided to try out this new DOA Swimmin’ Mullet Lure for the first time, not really caring if it didn’t work.

But I was in for a surprise!

I immediately hooked up to a snook, then proceeded to hook into several more, plus a barracuda and tarpon.

This lure is great because the eyes are a 1 1/4 oz. weight so it casts far and you can cover a ton of water.

However, the only downfall is that since this lure is so heavy, it doesn’t make for a great tarpon bait because they easily spit it out when they jump in the air.

But if you’re targeting snook, kingfish, or cobia, then I definitely recommend trying it out.

You can get this DOA Swimmin’ Mullet from our shop here.


doa swimmin mullet

If big fish are what you’re after, then you’ve got to try nearshore reef fishing.

You can slow troll a pinfish hooked through the lips, or tie on one of these DOA Swimmin’ Mullets and cast it out over the reef.

Have any questions about fishing nearshore reefs?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you want to try out the DOA Swimmin’ Mullet, we just got them in our shop and you can get them here.

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

Related articles:

Related categories:

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeffrey Sweater
2 years ago

I know this is an old post (I only joined Salt Strong a couple months ago), but wanted to see what mph you are talking about when you refer to slow trolling if you are in 25 to 35 ft deep water? I live in Venice, FL and the closest reefs and wrecks to the shore seem to be around this depth range. I’m sure your answer depends if you are driving with or against the current.

I have a 22 ft tritooon with don’t have an electric trolling motor yet (waiting on wife approval, which may take a year to two). Not sure if I can troll using my 150hp Vmax or if using it could scare off fish and I’d be better off drifting? Speaking of which, could drifting with the current and/or wind work just as well as trolling when freelining a pinfish (aside from having less control on my trolling path)? Hence my question on speed of trolling I want to target.

Same question on a mph when trolling paddles when inshore fishing (there are a lot of no wake/minimal wake zones in FL so it would be great troll a little bit while heading to the spots I really want to target). I’m sure it depends on many factors (depth of water, jig head weight, current, type of fish, time of year, and time of day, etc). but just want to make sure I’m in the right ballpark.

As you can probably tell, I’m new to inshore and near shore fishing…so don’t be afraid to treat me like the idiot I am! 🙂 I’m just trying to absorb as many tips from the Club as I can so I can go from being skunked (too often than I’d like to admit when not using live shrimp on a popping cork), to getting enough catches under my belt that I feel confident in my presentation with several different lures and live bait rigs. Then I’ll know if the fish aren’t biting, is probably not me and it is because there are little to no fish biting in that location and I should move on much quicker to a new spot than I normally do now.

Sorry, a lot to unpack in this post/question! Being a civil engineer I tend to be overly anal and get stuck on the minute details! Love the Cub and so glad I decided to join!


Jeffrey Sweater
2 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks Luke!

Richard Fiorentino
3 years ago

Could you tell me what rig you were using? Thanks

Joe Gilbert
3 years ago

I’m so happy you guys are starting to cover near shore / reef fishing. I have a bay boat and can’t get super skinny so this really gives me something to look forward to.

Tommy Clark
3 years ago

What Blue rod and what reel were you using?
What is the difference between the new Blue TFO and olderTFO rods?

Gregory Cook
3 years ago

How are you rigging the life bait and the DOA Mullet? I know you are free lining the life bait. However what # line, leader and hook size?

Brett Laws Laws
3 years ago

Luke, when you say nearshore reefs, are you speaking of old ship wrecks or natural reefs like sand or rock reefs?

Brett Laws Laws
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Great, thanks, Luke.
I’m assuming that the same rules apply to this as inshore: structure, current and bait are the key to getting bit.

Mike Connelly
3 years ago

Luke and all. That swimming mullet is GREAT for Redfish on jetties…. just a thought…


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

3 Tips To Deal With Dolphins While Fishing (And How To Use Them To Your Advantage)

Hate it when dolphins come to your honey hole? Watch this video for 3 tips on how to deal with them (and even use them to your advantage).
See Full post

Saltwater Fishing Products We No Longer Buy (And Why)

What could be some fishing products we no longer buy but when we first started out we bought in bunches? In this episode, we discuss...
See Full post
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Get Instant Access To “The Inshore Fishing Manifesto” PDF Now

You’ll automatically be emailed a private link to download your PDF, plus you’ll be added to the Salt Strong Newsletter.
(Please double-check your email below to ensure delivery.)