Do you want to learn how to perfect your offshore fishing skills and land more fish? I’ll pass on a few key tips that I’ve picked up throughout my years in the cockpit.
The job begins with perfecting your tackle. Trust me, NOBODY is okay with losing a fish due to tackle failure.
Before heading out check all of your leaders, connections, hooks, and main line. It is essential to stay on top of your tackle and replace old lines and connections.
While rigging, pay close attention to detail by making sure all of your knot and crimp connections are flawless.
Now that you’ve perfected your tackle, you won’t be sweating bullets when you’re tight with your next trophy. While heading out, begin to prep your bait by poking the eyes out with an arrow along with pooping and breaking the backs.
It’s important to brine the bait preventing the ballyhoo from disintegrating when a fish strikes and misses, allowing for a second strike.
When rigging ballyhoo, be sure the hook and beak pin are perfectly symmetrical with no bend in the bait in order to keep it from spinning.
You’ll want to keep the hook free while pulling the bait from only the nose allowing the bait to swim freely creating an appetizing presentation.
Managing the Cockpit is a must for any good mate
Before fishing, make sure your crew is informed what to do when a fish hooks up and how to properly work the rod while fighting the fish.
When setting out your spread, begin with the furthest baits from the boat to prevent tangles.While trolling, keep a keen eye out for any fish in the spread, as well as making sure that the baits are properly swimming.
On days that it’s difficult to spot a fish in the spread, I like to look for odd splashes from the bait; more times than not these end up being fish strikes.
If you’re able to spot the fish before the strike, grab the rod that the fish is trailing and put it in free spool while holding your thumb on the spool.
Once the fish strikes, let it run for 5 seconds and then tighten up the drag to set the hook.
While hooked up, pay attention to where the fish is heading and clear the spread accordingly.
If possible, only clear the baits that are in the way so you have a shot at a double or more.
Efficiently clear the rigger lines by shorting the baits up to the boat while keeping the line in the clips to save time putting the spread back out. When landing the fish, try to keep it out to the side of the boat to stay away from the prop wash.
Once the fish is gaffed, lift it straight up and over the rail while backing up
While lining up the gaff shot, make sure the fish is on or near the surface and aim for the middle of the head.
Once the fish is gaffed, lift it straight up and over the rail while backing up.Following these general guidelines are essential for any mate. It takes years and years of experience to become proficient in the cockpit.
On your next trip follow some of these important tips to further prefect your offshore game.
Captain Drew Demaree / Charleston Fishing Charters
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