Field experiments were conducted in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico off Panama City, Florida to evaluate the feasibility of using man-made midwater structures for attracting pelagic game fish to improve sportfishing catch rates. Significantly greater catches of little tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), and dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus) were made around experimental structure sites than in adjacent control areas when equal experimental fishing effort was used.
Multiple structures attracted larger numbers of coastal pelagic bait fish and produced larger catches of pelagic game fish than single-structure units. The distance offshore or water depth of structure locations affected both the species of fish attracted and the number of fish caught.
Charter fleet vessels fished around one of the experimental structures for several hours and reported total numbers of pelagic game fish caught and catch rates at least double those in “other areas” for that day.