There’s nothing like deep sea fishing! First, there’s the solitude and peace you find when you’re out in the ocean with your best buds. Then there’s the mental game, the strategy of finding, baiting, and winning the prize. It’s a challenge where success can truly change the life of the fisherman. And failure is no failure at all – you’ve still had hours of peaceful, glorious communion with the mother of nature, the mysterious ocean.
If you’re thinking of doing some deep sea fishing, there are a few things you should know before you go:
1. Grow sea legs!
The quickest way to spoil a deep sea fishing adventure is sea sickness. It’s a form of motion sickness, dominated by nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. To avoid sea sickness, stay away from the boat fumes. Keep your eyes on the horizon as much as possible, and stay on deck. Below deck, the constant motion can overcome you. If it gets really bad, move to the center of the boat where rolling is at a minimum. Or lie down on your back and close your eyes until you have your bearings. Most of all, breathe lots of fresh air – a substance in abundance on the deck of the boat.
2. Read the sea signs
Birds like seagulls feast on small fishes, as do larger game fishes. So birds are a good indicator that your prey lies below. Watch for floating wood and debris. Small fish find shelter there, so the big guys won’t be far away.
3. Snoop for Snook
The Snook is a big fish with a protruding lower jaw and large black stripes running from behind the gills to the tail. They’re a strong fish that can grow up to 50 pounds. Ranging in the Western Atlantic from South Carolina to Brazil, snook are a thrill to catch. Live shrimp are the best bait to use when you’re deep sea fishing for snook. Look around ledges, posts, and rocks to find this catch.
4. Moon the Crabs
Soft imitation crabs are a great bait during full moons. In nature, that’s when they shed their shells, when they’re a favorite treat for striped bass.
5. Find the dolphin, find the tuna
Yellowfin tuna often school with dolphins, porpoises, whales, and whale sharks. So if you spot a group of any of these, there are likely to be some tuna nearby. Found in tropical and sub-tropical waters, yellowfin are a prize catch due to their speed and strength. They’re a challenging catch that’s delicious too.
6. Burn the braid
Deep sea fishers use spiderwire because it’s like a spider’s web – it’s easier to feel when a fish takes the bait. But sometimes, it’s hard to cut. If you’re having trouble cutting a spiderwire braid, try burning it with the flame of a lighter or match.
7. Seek the reef
The best place to find the best deep sea fish is near a reef. Many coastal cultures get up to 25% of their food from reefs.
Reefs are natural nurseries for many ocean species, and wherever the tiny ones live, the big ones search. Another plus is the great diversity of species you’ll find near a reef.
8. The Circle Hook
Circle hooks are widely used by deep sea fishers. They’re a type of fishing hook that is circular, sharply curved. The circle hook has a greater success rate at hooking fish, and it does less damage to gills and fins. So, if you want to catch and throw back, you’re more likely to help your catch survive the adventure.
9. Don’t be dragged down by your anchor
Eventually, most deep sea fishing will involve an anchor stuck at the ocean floor or on debris. There are several tricks you can try to retrieve that anchor. Try attaching a float to it, then wait until the tide flow changes direction. It may well float up with the tide. If you’re worried about time, an anchor line that is straight up and down is more likely to loose the anchor than one at an angle. If it’s really stuck, have everyone aboard move to one end of the boat. Changing the weight distribution may well pull that anchor loose or make it easier to pull up. Finally, it’s a good idea to carry an extra anchor. If you have to cut one off to free yourself, you’ll have a replacement at hand.
10. Catching bait is catching game
If you’re intent on catching your own live bait, remember that you’re likely to find game fish in the same area. After all, the big ones will be after the same bait you are.