Basic information for the beginner going deep sea fishing.

You're so excited about going deep sea fishing. You've been looking forward to it for quite awhile. The time has finally come. You and your buddy toss some rain gear and a few pieces of equipment into the car and head out onto the highway to the coast.

Deep sea fishing is done far out in the ocean and is best done by charter.What will you catch? It's hard to say.

There is such a wide range of fish species to fish for including cod, wolf fish, haddock, halibut, Pollock, cusk, tuna, shark, sailfish, swordfish, rockfish, marlin, dorado and wahoo.

You've done your homework. You know you will need very heavy equipment, including rods and reels. You've learned the reels must be able to hold up to 300 yards of line. The line should be between 12 and 30 pound-test, depending on the targeted species.

You've heard that inexperienced deep sea fishing anglers should always use 30 pound-test line. Yet anglers with great skill might use a 12 pound-test line because it presents more of a challenge. What else should you know?

Be sure your rod, reel and line balance in size. Hook size should run between 3.0 and 6.0.Leaders should be between 10 and 15 feet long and be tied to a double line. All leaders used for deep sea fishing should be between 30 and 50 pound-test.


Live ballyhoo is a good all round bait for sailfishing. Bigger deep sea fishing baits include speedos, blue runners and googleyes, cut bait, dead bait rigs and lures, however live bait is best. The best rule of thumb for bait is to present the fish with natural prey. This is the smaller fish that the targeted species feeds upon. Sandperch, threadfin, herring, pilchards, hermit crabs, lugworms, mackerel, mussels, shrimp, squid, sandeel and mullets are all good bait for deep sea fishing. Grouper, kingfish, snapper, tuna and wahoo will all take these baits.

Never handle your bait after applying sunscreen without washing your hands with non-scented soap and water. In fact, the less you handle bait, the better it is. Do not use bait that has scales missing or if there are red spots around the nose. Deep sea fishing baits are easily found around fish cleaning tables, markers, bridges and docks. If you can't find bait, watch the seabirds. They fly in tight circles and dive in spots where bait is plentiful. If pelicans dive and immediately bring up their heads, they've found herring or pilchards. Seabirds can tell you where bait can be found.


The gear you will need will depend partially on where you are deep sea fishing. No matter where your deep sea fishing excursion is, be sure to take rain gear to protect you in inclement weather. When booking your excursion, be sure to ask the charter company what you should bring along. Most of them provide a list so that you will bring everything you need.


Use caution when chartering an excursion. Be sure the company is in good standing and that they have the proper permits and insurance. They should have been licensed at least two years and willingly provide references. If they hesitate, continue your search for a charter that is right for you. Charter companies should provide safety equipment and be fully bondable. Don't hesitate to ask for proof of licensing, insurance and bonds. If you have trouble choosing a charter company, ask someone who has previous experience for a recommendation. This could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a member of your angling club.


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