If you’re about to go deep sea fishing, you’re in for a thrill. There’s a mystique to any type of fishing. A completely different world that you can’t see is right below you. That fact is true of any waters you fish whether it be a main-stem river or your grandma’s farm pond. Deep sea fishing is the pinnacle of that sort of mystery. Pull out a silvery inhabitant of that hidden world in all its beauty and power and you will know forever that there is no rival to the deep blue sea.
You’re right in the middle of the world’s largest body of water. You know that without a doubt, there are massive fish swimming in the waters that are right below you. As the seasoned fisherman knows, fishing big water leads to big fish. That is true but not without its challenges. There’s more room to err if you don’t know what you’re doing. In a small body of water, most anyone can find the “honey holes.” Approaching deep sea fishing the same way will only lead to disappointment.
There’s a lot of open water and fish aren’t in all of that water all of the time. It can be a challenge to know where to start. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you’re a deep sea fishing success.
Get a Guide
Most anglers heading to the coast for vacation don’t have the finances, resources or know how to head out on the big waters all by themselves. If you can, find some friends who are interested in deep sea fishing, put all of your money together and purchase a guided day fishing trip. You’ll likely do better than surf fishing in both fish size and quantity. You may be surprised at just how affordable it can be.
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In reality, there just isn’t enough time to become an expert on waters you only visit once or twice a year. Your fishing guide doesn’t fish just when he feels like it. It’s his job. That means fishing virtually every day of the year that the weather cooperates. As you can imagine, diligent guides quickly become experts of the sea. And they will do all that they can to help you succeed. When you win, they win.
Even for those who live on the coast and are all about “do-it-yourself trips,” hiring a guide for a day at least once will greatly increase your chances once you go out on your own. You’ll be able to pick the brains of seasoned vets about anything from the best locations, weather patterns and safety advice.
Not all guides are created equal. Look for reviews online and ask around before paying large sums of money and jumping on a boat with just anyone. You want to go with a reputable operation to ensure your safety and that your money is well spent.
Safety Before Big Fish
It’s important to remember that no fish, even if it’s a world record, is worth risking your life over. Every year, there are tragic stories on the news about fishing trips that went wrong. Whether it involved fishing on thin ice, boating too close to a dam or going to sea in rough conditions, many fishing accidents could have been avoided with a little more precaution.
It’s human to think that fishing accidents only happen to “other people.” The best thing you can do is to realize that they can happen to anyone if proper precautions aren’t followed.
Be sure to tell friends and relatives about your trip, how long you plan to be gone, and where exactly you plan to go. Routinely maintenance your boat and don’t consider going to sea in a boat that isn’t built to handle the ocean. Pack extra food, clothing and water in case there would be an emergency. Fire extinguishers, first aid items, flotation devices, life vests and flares should regularly be inspected to ensure they are present and in working order.
Structure, Structure, Structure…
You can eliminate hours and days of frustration by finding structure. Structure refers to anything that helps to provide fish with their basic needs. Needs that fish share include temperature preferences, shelter from current, shade, places to hide from predators and to catch a meal. One of the best areas to find plenty of structure is a reef. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’ll have to be plenty careful not to snag. But, alas, that’s the challenge of any dedicated angler. If you don’t get close enough to structure, you won’t catch fish.
If you get too close to structure, you’ll snag. Snagging can’t be completely avoided. In fact, if you’re not snagging on occasion, then you’re probably not getting close enough to the reefs. Also look for transition zones. That means relying on your electronics and finding the drop offs. Small and large fish relate to this type of structure. Large fish love moving up the drop off towards the shallow area since it gives them a major edge in ambushing prey.
Look For Birds
After all of that talk about structure, it’s worth noting that there are times that fish are in open water, even near the surface. Small fish find food and the larger fish move in to take advantage of that fact. One great way to locate where the fish are holding is to find seabirds that are feeding on fish at the surface. These birds are even more dedicated to fishing than the best guide. If not, they don’t survive. Move in and see what all the fuss is about. You may end up with some nice catches for your efforts.
Seriously? Yes. Makes friends with the other diehards and maybe even drop off a gift to one of the best. That doesn’t mean manipulating information out of them. Veteran fishermen can be more tight lipped than the fish they’re after when they want to be. You already have a lot in common with the those who may have decades more experience. A lot more is caught than taught and that applies to fishing, too.
You will gain the confidence to try proven fishing methods that you just can’t get from fishing books or shows. Smile a lot around other fishermen, listen and ask a lot of questions. Doing so will put you on the fast track to deep sea fishing success. Find out what’s working and what isn’t in terms of baits and locations. Talk to your local tackle shop owners, DNR officers and check out pictures posted on “bragging boards.”
There is no close comparison to deep sea fishing. Line-sizzling hookups are what fishing big water is all about. Whether you end up fishing for sharks, tuna, blues or marlins, you’re in for an adrenaline-charged thrill. Remembering these tips will help to give you the edge that you desire. Now get out there and make it happen. The fish of a lifetime is only a hookset away.