Offshore Fishing

April 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Fishing Information

Broadly, offshore fishing encompasses trolling for game and sport fish, bottom fishing with bait, jigging lures for reef-dwelling species or lure casting for sport fish around structures such as reefs and washes.

Most offshore fishing is done in proximity to land, near reefs, islands or the mainland shore itself. However, there is also good fishing to be had in more open water, where the influence of the structure of the seabed may not be so evident, but where the food-rosh ocean currents play the major role in attracting offshore pelagic fish.

Game fishing

Large game fish are likely to be where there are warm, blue, ocean currents pushing from the tropics. Other indicators are surface-feeding schools of intermediate predators such as striped tuna or frigate mackerel. These gather where currents and wind concentrate dense schools of tiny bait fish, juvenile squid or other planktonic larvae, such as those of crabs or lobsters. In turn, big fish, such as yellowfin tuna, marlin or shark, move in to feed and these smaller predators then become the prey.

offshore fishingFeeding schools of fish are often signposted by wheeling flocks of sea birds, but you can also stumble across them by trolling along current lines. Generally, the more current lines and the warmer and bluer the water, the better. When such oceanic streams converge, they create ideal conditions, attracting whole food chains into specific areas.

Game fishing methods include trolling lures, trolling dead “skip” baits, trolling live baits, fishing live or dead baits form a drifting boat and at times (although rarely) fishing baits from an anchored boat. Trolling lures or bait is by far the most popular method.

Reef fishing

Not everyone who fishes offshore will set their sights on game fish, nor do they need to. Many other species of offshore fish cost less to catch, provide plenty of fishing fun and supply good seafood for the family table into the bargain. Fish, such as emperor, snapper, yellowtail kingfish, cob, mackerel, tailor and mulloway, inhabit inshore reefs, headland and island areas, and can be pursued with smaller boats and less sophisticated tackle.

While fishing offshore reefs for a variety of species on the bottom, there is often an opportunity to pursue many sport fish that come past. Small mackerel tuna, snook, queenfish, trivially and barracouta are some of the sport fish found around offshore reefs.

Locating the fish

Regardless of the sale of offshore fishing you pursue, it is important to fish in the right place, where all the hungry fish are congregated. Finding hungry fish in all that water relies on knowing the kinds of places fish frequent and how those places can be located.

A depth sounder can be a big advantage offshore and not only to tell the angler the depth of the water. Good sounders can easily pinpoint offshore reefs in 20m of water and often locate fish over that structure as well. Used in conjunction with hydrographic charts, sounds enable anglers to return to the same location, particularly when out of sight of identifiable landmarks.

Having found your fish, all that is required is to determine the best rig and approach. While the “right”┬átackle and baits remain fairly constant for certain species, the way you rig and go about presenting them will vary according to location and conditions. You do not need a rod and rig for every fish in the ocean, but you do need to take into account that fish differ in size, aggression and eating habits, and have a range of tackle on board to be adequately prepared. With much offshore fishing one needs a fair bit of lead to get down to the bottom.

At the simple end of things, you could get away with a set of light and heavy landlines, but by rod fishing you give yourself added versatility, being able to cast, troll, drift or bottom fish with a variety of baits or lures, or fish in a number of places for a range of species, from those that are small and slow to big fast deepwater game fish.

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