Imagine yourself on a boat in the middle of a wide and open ocean, nothing but clear blue water around you. There’s salt in your hair from the sharp ocean spray and your cheeks are just the right amount of sunburnt.
It’s the perfect boat day. You’ve caught a shiny blue marlin and you can already hear it sizzling on the grill, smell its tasty aroma. You really fought with that sucker, didn’t you?
You kept steady on the line and didn’t give up. Now you’ve got the celebratory picture to prove it, and can sit back, relax and crack a cold one with the boys.
If that doesn’t sound like a fishing dream come true, I don’t know what does. The deep sea fishing technique, or offshore or big game fishing as some prefer to call it, can be a great way to step up your game if you’re tired of wading shallow waters, catching easy game or you’re just looking for bigger fish to fry — pun intended.
With the proper setup and a good understanding of what to expect, you too can enjoy an exciting day of fishing, and head back with a gorgeous game fish in tow.
What To Expect
So let’s get into the details. As the name implies, deep sea fishing is done out in the open ocean. You’ve gotta be at depths of at least 30 meters to catch the big suckers, meaning you’ll be on average, 20 to 50 miles offshore.
If you didn’t know, that’s a long way from the coast, and it could take an hour or more to reach the right spot. Because of these deeper waters, you need a boat that’s equipped to withstand choppy waves. Your boat’s gotta be quick too if you want to keep up with those little devils.
What I’m talking about here is the race of a lifetime, so you gotta bring out the big guns. What do I mean by that? Deep sea fishing requires larger fishing and sonar equipment to help you catch those tough and flighty fish.
For your first couple times out, deep sea fishing charters are probably your best option. That way you’ll be accompanied by a professional, who will have all the info you’ll need to get you started on your deep-sea journey.
Your captain will instruct you as you go throughout the process. You’ll want to listen carefully to know when and how to rig up, as well as when to throw your lines and start reelin’ ‘em in.
What You Need To Know
Simply put, deep sea fishing is a challenge. With rough waves battering against the boat, it may not be suited for everybody. I’m talking about those easily prone to turning green and queasy feeling especially.
You may want to stay away or at least come prepared with some seasickness meds. I know I used ginger ale to ease motion sickness on my first couple of trips. I recommend it to those who don’t want to be kept from what truly is a cool experience.
Beyond being a little tough on the stomach, deep sea fishing is also not for the novice fisherman. It requires quite a bit of prior fishing knowledge, a good grip and lots of patience.
If none of these things scare you and you think you’ve got what it takes, then you’re just the fool I’m talking to, and boy are you in for a fun and bumpy ride!
Deep sea fishing is what I like to call a big boy sport, because the game is larger and meaner than ever, kind of like your mother-in-law, if you know what I mean. I guess you could say that if you can handle this, you can handle anything.
What You Gotta Bring
Surprise, surprise! You’ll need the right fishing gear for your deep-sea fishing trip. Who knew? In all seriousness, the kind of fishing equipment you’ll need will depend on whether you take a charter, (which I highly urge you to do).
Most charters provide fishing equipment for you, so at least you have one less thing you need to worry about. On the other hand, if you don’t take a charter you’ll need these items in the very least:
- Fishing rods and reels
- Live bait
You may also need to bring a fishing license. Again, many charters will cover this for you. Beyond fishing equipment, every fisherman should bring these essentials before embarking on their expedition:
This isn’t a runway. No Balenciagas or expensive sneakers, please. Instead, opt for light and comfortable clothing. Pay special attention to weather forecast, too. Shorts, t-shirts or a thin long-sleeved shirt are perfect for warmer weather, but you’ll need pants and hoodie if it’s going to be cold.
Don’t forget to make sure your clothes are quick-drying and have UV protection, too. You also want to bring sunglasses and a hat to protect your face from the sun.
Lastly, choose shoes with rubber roles that can keep you from falling. Honestly, this point is really important. Spare yourself from the embarrassment. One fall and you’ll become the running joke for the trip. I would know.
You can never have enough sunblock on the boat. Make sure you have SPF 30 or higher, and that the active ingredient is zinc, because it provides the best sun protection. Zinc also gives you that oh so attractive lifeguard look, in case you’re into that.
This might sound like overkill, but keep a lip balm with SPF on you as well, to stop your lips from getting burnt and chapped from the sun. You’ll finally understand why your girlfriend never leaves the house without it.
3. Hand Sanitizer
This one goes without saying. You’ll need hand sanitizer after handling fish and before eating. It’s good to have around to prevent illness too.
4. Food and Water
Deep sea fishing can be harsh on the body. After all, you’re out there battling against sun and wind, and if you’re lucky, wrangling hard against some strong fishy swimmers.
To keep your energy up, you’ve gotta pack more than enough food and water. Foods high in protein can keep you full and simple carbs can provide you with all the energy you need. Remember to bring tons of water to keep you hydrated.
Whether you want to use your phone, a disposable or a high tech DSLR, don’t forget to bring a camera to capture what truly is a special moment. That is, the moment you catch your big game fish! Just make sure to bring a waterproof case to keep your camera or phone safe from the water.
What You Can Catch
What can you expect to catch on your deep-sea journey? Here are some of the most common catches you’re likely to find out on the water:
- Sailfish: Found off the coast of Florida, these suckers put on quite the show. You just might see them perform some really awe-inspiring jumps.
- Swordfish: One of the toughest species to catch. These are typically caught at night. Keep an eye out for their sword-like bill and purplish tone.
- Marlin: If you’re looking for a fight, the marlin is your guy. If you can catch one of these, I’d really be impressed. They prefer lighter tackle, so do keep that in mind.
- Barracuda: Another great light-tackle game fish. You can’t really eat it, but if you want a fish mounted on your wall, then this is one to set your sights on.
- Mahi-Mahi: A very colorful fish, usually bright green and yellow with blue spots. Also, delicious. Get ready for a good dinner if you do end up catching one of these.
- Snapper and Grouper: These are some of the best fish to eat and can be easily prepared in a couple of different ways. If you’re looking for a few recipes, check out our free recipe guide to find the perfect dish for your fresh catch!