The general geographic location was probably responsible for the naming of the Nine Mile area. Some of the earlier JOSFC charts give the distance and bearing from the Sea Buoy, rather than the Jetties as the more recent charts show. The old 1971 chart shows the Nine Mile area located eight miles from the Sea Buoy on a heading of 90 degrees. The ’86 chart shows the location at 10.5 miles from the jetties, on a heading of 93 degrees. To further confuse the issue, the ’76 chart shows the location to be 10.4 miles from the second set of double buoys off the jetties, on a heading of 90 degrees.
Let’s see… One chart has it located at 10.5 miles, one has it at 8 miles and one has it 10.4 miles out. If we average those distances, it would be a total of 28.9 miles, divide that by 3… That would equal 9.6 miles. Well, NO WONDER it’s called ‘Nine Mile!’ Who in the world ever heard of a nine-and-a-half-mile area? Given that, you no longer have to be confused as to how the area got its name or, better yet, even how to get there. The numbers given in the new JOSFC “Offshore Reef Guide” will accurately direct you to some of the most productive spots in the Nine Mile area.
In reality, the area probably became popular in the early days of recreational fishing for several reasons. First and most important, the area naturally holds fish. Additionally, the distance offshore and the ease at which it could be navigated by “dead reckoning” made it a very popular area.
Ninety degrees out, two-seventy in, how much easier could it be? Incidentally, “dead reckoning” is the method of navigation used before Loran and GPS. Remember? I’ll bet. And, considering the size and speed of the recreational boats thirty-five years ago, not to mention the reliability of outboards… nine or ten miles was probably considered far enough for most weekend anglers.
Nine Mile Reef is not just a single location. It’s a blend of natural bottom and areas of controlled material placements which spans over several miles. The JOSFC originally developed the artificial placement in this area and has maintained them for over thirty years.
Seasonally, the area produces excellent catches of bottom fish and many, many fine catches of striking fish have been brought to the dock from the Nine Mile area. King, Cobia, Cuda, Bonito and Spanish are generally plentiful throughout the summer and it’s not uncommon for a Sail or Blackfin Tuna to show up in the area either. During the winter and spring, when weather conditions are fishable but you don’t want to make that long haul against a cold northeast chop, it’s good area for bottom fishing. Achored up bottom bumping, drifting cigar minnows, slow trolling live bait or fast trolling natural bait… just stop by the Nine Mile any season of the year and you’ll bend a rod.