It’s most likely not a stretch to say that most of us dream of adventure from time to time. Be it bungee jumping, a trip to an unknown country, or camping in a very remote area, we all want to just try something new sometimes. In the world of fishing, not many activities are as adventurous and exciting as fishing in the deep sea.
Commonly associated with industrial fishing vessels, deep-sea fishing is something that you can enjoy even if you’re not an angler by profession. It’s not the easiest thing in the world and it takes a lot of preparation, but once you’re all set, you too can swim the vast seas and catch the biggest fish.
What is fishing in the deep sea all about? What kind of equipment is required? What are the risks and benefits? Where can you go if you want to try it for yourself? You have the questions, we have the answers! In this guide, we will cover everything there is to know about deep-sea fishing.
What is Deep Sea Fishing?
Before we delve deeper into the deepest oceans, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. What exactly is deep sea fishing?
You can fish in most waters, but when it comes to fishing in the deep sea, it’s an angling technique that takes place far away from the shore. For fishing to be regarded as deep-sea fishing, it has to be done in waters that have at least 30 meters (100 feet) or more in depth. This fishing style is sometimes referred to as sports fishing, boat fishing, ocean fishing, offshore fishing, or big game fishing.
The name “big game fishing” is not for nothing. This angling method is the one that will open up your sights to some really big game. The fish you can find close to the land are often replaced by some really massive catches when you head out into the open sea.
Some of the fish you may find when you fish in the deep sea are tunas, swordfishes, marlins, and even sharks. These kinds of fishes are not found anywhere out of the vast oceans. You won’t find them in lakes or even close the seashore. As such, sea fishing is exciting not just because of the location and the experience, but also for the reward that awaits you if you choose to try it.
Offshore angling is definitely not a solitary experience. You need a big boat for this type of fishing, as well as special tools that will let you fish deep under the surface of the water.
There are people who go in groups of friends. There are also, of course, industrial trawlers that contribute a lot to the fishing trade all over the world. Lastly, there are deep sea fishing charter trips, which are possibly the most accessible option if you’re not a professional.
The History of Fishing in the Deep Sea
As you can probably guess, fishing has been an essential food source for as long as history can remember, dating back to prehistoric times. Commercial fishing, on the other hand, is traced back to the days of antiquity. However, the ability to go fishing out in the open wasn’t always a thing. For many, many years, the deep sea remained a mystery to everyone.
It’s not until the 15th century that anglers first started to traverse the seas and deep-sea fishing started to become a reality. These attempts were still few and far apart compared to what we are used to seeing now. However, the 15th century also brought about the rise in the trade of fish.
In the 19th century, with the invention of steamboats, sea fishing and ocean fishing became much more common. These powerful boats were capable of pulling much larger nets, which made the trips worth the trouble and danger that the anglers had to put themselves through. Ever since then, ocean and sea fishing only continues to evolve and bring in even more adventurous anglers.
Deep Ocean Fishing for Beginners
These days, industrial trawlers carry massive amounts of fish across large distances and supply the whole world with all kinds of favorite fish, such as tuna. Who doesn’t love tuna? If not for deep sea fishing, we likely wouldn’t have any!
As you are not likely to be here in search of information about industrial fishing, we will focus on the type of fishing in the deep sea that you CAN do. If you’re a beginner or don’t have a lot of professional equipment of your own, there is just one kind of deep fishing you should be considering — the chartered kind.
Many tourist areas located close to the deep seas offer fishing charters. These organized trips take you and several others out to sea and help you get started with fishing in the deep sea. As you are always accompanied by a guide and several other professionals, charters are the safest way to explore the world of sports fishing.
We really don’t recommend heading out into the open waters without an experienced fishing guide and the proper equipment. Even if you have done it before, it’s safer to go with people that have done it hundreds of times and know how to handle any and all situations.
There’s more to it than just picking the first available charter and heading out. Below, we will cover all the things you need to be mindful of when planning your first adventure.
How to Pick the Best Charter for Ocean Fishing?
The first step to success is to pick a fishing charter company that employs true professionals and fishing aficionados. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when booking your trip.
- Research the company thoroughly. Some tourist areas may only offer just one fishing charter service, but you should still take some time to read up on the company. Read the reviews, check whether they have all the necessary licenses, and what they provide.
- Don’t book online if you still have questions. It’s better to either email or to talk to a representative of the chartering company. Since this involves the safety of you and the ones you’re going with, it’s important that you know everything in and out before you head out on the trip.
- Keep in mind that some charters need to be booked days or weeks in advance. If you’re headed on vacation for just a week, you should do the bulk of your research beforehand and then try to book before you arrive.
- If you’re currently on vacation, you don’t have to pass up on the opportunity to fish in the local waters just because you haven’t prepared ahead of time. In fact, you might be better off. Contact your local tour guide, hotel concierge, browse through pamphlets and ask the locals about sea fishing opportunities.
- Another good way to find fishing charters is to simply take a stroll by the pier and look for booths that take people right away. This is more common for scenic trips, but it’s worth trying your luck.
- Check whether the company provides everything you may need. This includes licenses, bait, rods, and life jackets. Ideally, if you choose the right company, all you will need to do is show up on time, pay the fee, and enjoy yourself!
- Safety first — pick companies that have been around for a while as opposed to newly established businesses. It’s good to support a rising business, but not at the cost of your own safety.
Booking a Deep Sea Fishing Charter
If you’ve done all the research and picked out a charter, there are still other things you’ll need to keep in mind. You need to be prepared ahead of time so that the whole process can be made much smoother.
- Gather a large group together. Whether you book with a large chartering company or a smaller business owned by the captain of the boat, you need to make the trip worth their while. Deep-sea fishing charters often will not take you unless you’ve gathered a group of several anglers. It’s simply not worth it for them to set out just for one person.
- If you’re on your own or with just 1-2 people, the captain may offer you a spot on a boat that takes people you don’t know. Even if you’re booking for a larger group, you may still be lumped together with strangers. Be ready to meet new people and share your love of fishing with other fans of the sport.
- Prepare a list of things you’ll need before your trip and make a checklist of how many of those things will be provided by the charter. Ask about this when booking.
- Check the weather before banking on a certain date. The weather may change, but it’s good to check the surrounding days. If the whole week is marked as sunny, odds are in your favor more so than if every other day is rainy. You may also ask the chartering company for tips on when it is best to go.
Deep Fishing for Seasoned Anglers
If you’re a seasoned angler and you already own a boat, you can most probably set out on fishing adventures without an experienced guide. Even if you’ve done it a few times in the past, going with a crew of professionals is still a positive experience. You might even be able to hire a crew to accompany you on your own boat, as long as it’s suited for fishing in the deep sea.
Don’t want to head out with a crew? No problem, but please make sure you’re not all alone. You can’t be the sailor and the angler all at the same time, and for your own safety, you should not traverse the ocean all by yourself.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you already own a boat & won’t be working with a fishing charter.
- Check local laws and requirements. Make sure that your boat meets them and that you have all the necessary certifications.
- Follow all local legal regulations. Perform extensive research before heading out.
- Contact the local wildlife commission if this is your first time fishing in the area. Ask them for a full list of regulations. You should receive guidance on where it’s legal to fish, what licenses you need, and the types of fish you’re allowed to aim for.
- Remember to ask how much fish you’re allowed to keep — this varies from country to country.
- Double and triple-check your equipment. If this is your first try at fishing in the deep sea, make sure you have the appropriate fishing rods, life jackets, and all other equipment. We talk about this below. Speaking of life jackets, you should ALWAYS wear one.
- Keep a close eye on the weather. Do not head out onto the ocean if the forecast is bad and the skies are cloudy. Similarly, while already out in the water, play it safe, and head home the moment the weather gets worse.
- Regularly broadcast a positioning signal so that you can be seen by other boats. Keep the radio on so that you can hear any potential warnings, such as the Coast Guard or other local equivalents.
- Keep in mind that some of the fish you catch may be very large. This is why it’s good to have some help — handling a massive shark or tuna all by yourself is not easy at all!
How to Prepare for Fishing in the Deep Sea
You’ve booked your charter or you’ve decked out your boat — you’re ready to go! Not so fast, though. For maximum enjoyment of the experience (and maximum security), check the following steps to make sure you’re not forgetting anything in your excitement.
If you’re renting out a charter, this should all be provided to you. However, if you’re missing some key pieces, here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll definitely need.
- A fishing rod suited for offshore fishing
- An appropriate amount of baits and hooks
- A fish finder tool that helps you scan the waters below
There are some things that should never be forgotten. Here are a few staples for any fishing in the deep sea trip.
- A well-fitted life jacket for every member of the crew
- A secure bag for all your personal belongings, such as an ID
- Medicine, including sea-sickness tablets
- Sunscreen — even if you don’t tan easily, you will be out in the open sea for several hours
- Lots of water and some snacks — again, plenty of time out in the sun.
- A bag or a cooler to store the fish in
- Boat lights
- Emergency paddles
Even if you’re headed out into the middle of the sea with a charter, you are still bound to get a little wet. That’s just the nature of the sport! As such, your clothing should be largely waterproof. You can wear a bathing suit on a very hot day, but you can also wear other loose clothing that you’re feeling comfortable in.
Make sure not to overheat and wear a hat even on super-hot days or you risk falling ill. However, if you’re going to fish in the deep sea on a colder day, definitely layer up. Layers bring more warmth than a lone sweater would do.
Follow the Instructions
This is an aspect that some people may struggle with. Even if you’re on a chartered boat and you are paying for a service, remember one thing. When you’re at sea, the captain has the last word on everything.
As the captain knows the situation best, it’s important that you listen to his or her advice without questioning them, especially on uneasy waters. Make sure you also follow the information given to you by the guide on your charter and allow the crew to assist you if you’re a beginner.
There are two sides to every coin. Instead of just following the instructions, feel free to ask for help! Consult your guide about which type of bait to use and any special techniques that might help you score the biggest fish of your life.
As soon as you board the boat, check to see where the life jackets and potential lifeboats are. The type and number of life-saving equipment depend on boat size. Every charter should provide a life jacket for every passenger & more.
How to Catch Fish in the Deep Sea
Once you’re on a boat, the main objective, other than enjoying the beautiful sights, will be to catch that big one. Follow our tips for maximum success!
Finding the Fish
This is a big one — after all, you don’t want to go back home without a single bite. If you’re on a charter, the captain will generally take you to an area with plenty of fish, such as trenches, drop-offs, and reefs. If you’re on your own, make sure to research the area and ask the locals before you head out.
Choosing the Bait
Bait is often provided on chartered fishing in the deep sea excursions, but it’s also one of those things that are good to bring with you. The type of bait depends on the fish you want to catch, but both live and artificial bait will work. Deep-sea inhabitants often tend to like bait such as mackerels, minnows, and shrimp.
Keep in mind that for sharks, cut-up, dead bait will work better than live bait. Sharks are predators and will immediately go for the smell. However, be careful when fishing for sharks, as they are very difficult to catch for most anglers.
Lastly, make sure to always refill your bait and keep it fresh. If the fish aren’t taking to your current bait, it’s good to switch it up and try something new.
Fishing in the Deep Sea — Methods
If you’re on a charter, the guide and the captain should both guide you and tell you what fishing methods to use. However, it’s good to be prepared beforehand.
The most popular methods of deep ocean fishing include:
- Trolling. This makes you drag your line deep across the ocean floor. The line is weighted, which allows you to skim it along the bottom. This method works best on shallower waters.
- Casting a line up the current. If you know that there are large fish in the area, try to cast your line up the current and then allow it to come back. Recast as needed.
- Chumming. This also attracts larger fish. You’ll be leaving baited lines in the water as well as throwing chunks of bait all around. As the fish fight for food, they will be much easier to catch, because they will be reckless and not as careful as usual.
Once you finally get a bite, don’t try to reel in on your own. Some of the fish you may catch will be absolutely massive. That’s why it’s important to go with a crew. Ask your friends, or the crew of the charter, to help you reel in!
Fishing in the deep sea is one of the best adventures an angler can have. Filled with unexpected twists, it lets you become one with nature and enjoy the beautiful sights. Aside from that, it lets you experience the biggest thrills fishing has to offer.
Make sure you take every security measure required and then try to book your first chartered fishing in the deep sea trip. It’s bound to be an unforgettable experience!
- 1 What is Deep Sea Fishing?
- 2 The History of Fishing in the Deep Sea
- 3 Deep Ocean Fishing for Beginners
- 4 Deep Fishing for Seasoned Anglers
- 5 How to Prepare for Fishing in the Deep Sea
- 6 How to Catch Fish in the Deep Sea
- 7 Summary