Key West is home to tons of ship wrecks (hundreds of them) ranging from a collection of debris on the bottom to the 500 foot long and 120 feet high Vandenburg.
Variety abounds in wreck fishing.
Due to the nature of most wrecks sinking without planning, there are wrecks in all different depths and areas. Some wrecks are in the shallows, in harbor or inshore. Some wrecks such as the airplane and Curb are located past the end of the reef in hundreds of feet of water.
Wrecks based on their location and the time of year can hold a variety of fish.
Starting with shallow gulf and inshore wrecks, these wrecks would hold fish such as mangrove snapper, gag and black grouper, barracuda and when the water is colder cobia.
Depth can mean bigger fish but this is not always a rule. The target wrecks can be loaded with big fish and they are in shallow water.
Then there are deep water wrecks such as the Curb, the airplane, the sub, the Wilkes Barre and many more. These wrecks will have fish on the structure deep down, but also often hold large pelegics such as amberjacks, blackfin tun and wahoo in the water column above them.
Bait for fishing the wrecks
Since wrecks and the fish species that inhabit them can be very different wreck to wreck the bait could be almost anything.
Wreck fishing gear
A variety of tackle will used wreck fishing, usually some lighter outfits to target the smaller fishing mid water column and heavier gear on the bottom. The gear needs to be heavy to pull the fish out of the wreck.
What to expect
Mostly when fishing wrecks you anchor up-current of the wreck and feed your baits back to the fish. Bait fish like to congregate just up current of the wrecks and the predator fish will follow them.
This principle applies no matter the depth.
When targeting the fish above the wreck, it is common to drift over the wreck, and then run up current and repeat. This makes it more difficult to target bottom fish but can be more effective on pelagic fish.
This is also how to fish the wreck sometimes when you are sharing it with other boats. Although not everyone will follow this etiquette.