deep sea fishing

Although there is plenty of action that is available from the shoreline, eventually, you are going to want to move out into the water and enjoy some near-shore or deep-sea fishing. In either case, a new world is going to be opened up to you, which will offer you the opportunity to catch larger fish and to find different species, which are not going to be reachable from the shoreline. Of course, not everybody that wants to get out on the water has the means or the desire to own a boat.

Although it can be enjoyable to have a boat at your disposal, it is also expensive, and the saltwater can be hard on the ship itself. It is typically a good idea for you to enjoy some time on the water by either renting a boat or chartering a boat for the day. If you hire a boat and have a guide, it is more likely that you’re going to find some fish and enjoy some great fishing action.

Nearshore fishing offers you a very dynamic way to put some fish in the boat. The nearshore zone starts at the area where the surf breaks and extends out into the ocean, although you will never lose sight of land. It can be an excellent place to catch some fish because you will likely have a number of factors working in your favor.

Those can include tide changes, currents, and reefs. There is also the area where the water tends to drop off into deeper territory, and many species of fish can be found in this area. If you’re planning on heading out into deeper waters, which is sometimes referred to as blue water, you are likely to find larger fish.

This area provides the opportunity to fish at a wide variety of depths, from predator fish that are swimming at the surface all the way to snapper and grouper, which are likely to be found on the bottom. If you hire a boat and have somebody that is going to take you to the hotspots, they will likely know about some underwater reefs or perhaps even a shipwreck, where fish tend to congregate.

Common Fish Species

There are so many different species of fish that can be found in the nearshore or deep-sea that it is difficult to name them all. Here are some of the more popular types of fish which can be found in many coastal areas of the United States.

Sailfish (Deep-sea)

saltwater fishing sailfish

With an average weight of 70 pounds and reaching weights of over 200 pounds, the sailfish offers you an excellent opportunity to go big. Most people who fish for sailfish do it on a catch and release basis. It is one of the more popular types of sports fishing, and it is enjoyable just to watch the sailfish dance on the water while you are bringing them to the boat.

Mahi Mahi (Deep-sea)

saltwater fishing mahi mahi

This sports fish, which is sometimes known as the mahi-mahi, is one of the most popular types of fish found in warmer deep-sea waters. They run in schools and can often be found where baitfish are plentiful or hanging out underneath some kind of cover, such as a board or other debris that is in the water. They are a fast, acrobatic, and strong fish that is sure to make for an excellent day on the water.

Tuna (Deep-sea)

saltwater fishing tuna

There are many species of tuna, including the blackfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and yellowfin tuna. They are not only excellent as a sports fish; they also make for a fantastic meal. Some tuna may be relatively light, and you may find some that are in the range of two pounds, but it is also possible to hook a tuna that is 40 pounds or more. In fact, the yellowfin tuna has been known to reach sizes of over 200 pounds, and the world record is near to 400 pounds in weight.

Flatfish (Nearshore)


Various species of flatfish, including founder, can be found closer to the shore. These are sometimes sought after by anglers who are fishing from the shoreline, but they are easier to reach if you are on a boat beyond the breaking waves.

Striped Bass (Nearshore)

Striped Bass from the sea

Another popular fish for those angling from the beach, striped bass can also be easily reached if you are on a boat near the coast. Plenty of fishing action is available when they are running, and they can certainly make for an exciting day on the water.


There are a wide variety of options available for tackle, depending upon where you are fishing and the type of fish that you are targeting. It is always best for you to have more than one rod available, just in case, there is a change in the action at some point during the day.

A good, all-around medium weight rod is going to be ideal for most inshore or near shore fishing action. Keep in mind that it is not out of the ordinary to run into fish that are in excess of 10-15 pounds when you are fishing on a reef.

Although it certainly is possible for you to catch one of these fish on a lightweight rod, it is also likely that you will wind up with problems, not least a broken rod. If you are somebody that enjoys fishing with lighter tackle, it is best if you try to target smaller fish. Although it certainly is possible for you to hook a larger fish with lighter tackle, it is unlikely that you are going to get them close enough to the boat to see them.

If you are looking for an all-around rod that is right for most occasions, look for a 7 or 8-foot rod with a fast action tip. This is a good choice if you are not sure of the type of fish that you are going to be targeting or if you are going to be catching a midrange fish of fewer than 10 pounds. If you’re going to be targeting anything larger than 10 pounds, such as snook or bull reds, you should have a heavier rod at your disposal.

The most common types of fishing reels that are used for fishing near the shore are either going to be a spinning reel or a trolling reel. Personally, I keep a rod with each type of reel on the boat, with the trolling reel having a much heavier monofilament line.

Although I tend to fish with a lighter rod in most situations, I do want to have a larger rod available just in case we decide to go for larger fish. An entire book could be written about the different type of tackle that is available for deep-sea fishing. At its most basic level, you will need a rod, hooks, sinkers, and some extra fishing line.

saltwater fishing tackle

From that point, the sky is really the limit as far as the types and weight of the tackle that you are using. If you’re just getting your start with deep-sea or nearshore fishing, I would recommend that you hire a charter boat to spend some time on the water. Not only can they help to direct you to the best areas possible for fishing, but they will also provide you with the necessary tackle so that you can make the most out of your day on the boat.


The bait that is available for ocean fishing can really be broken down into two different categories: live bait and artificial bait. The type of bait that you use is really going to depend upon the type of fish that you are targeting and the technique that you are using for catching them. In some cases, you can use a fish that was caught and cut it up into pieces to use as bait. Most deep-sea fishermen like to use live bait, such as sardines or other small fish because it tends to be the most effective choice available.

saltwater fishing bait

If you’re going to be trolling for larger game fish, such as mahi-mahi, sailfish or swordfish, you will want to have the right type of artificial lures available. Be prepared for some sticker shock before you go to the bait shop to pick up some of these lures.

They can get very expensive and, if you should happen to lose one or more in the course of the day, it can be a costly outing. Again, that is why I typically recommend that you charter a boat to take you out deep-sea fishing so that you can enjoy using their tackle and simply concentrate on catching fish.


They are many different ways for you to fish from a boat. Some of the more popular methods that are used include trolling and simply dropping your line into the water and letting the bait fall to the desired depth. There are also specific types of fishing, such as kite fishing, which are used in situations where you want the bait to dance on top of the water. There are far too many fishing techniques to include in this chapter, but we will concentrate on the most popular method among nearshore and deep-sea anglers. You should also keep in mind, hiring a charter boat for your first time on the water will let you enjoy a variety of techniques without having to worry about which is going to work well for you.


This method of saltwater fishing tends to be more productive than other methods. It doesn’t matter whether you are fishing near to the shore or if you are out in the deep water, trolling is likely to give you a greater chance for success. In essence, trolling is pulling the bait behind the boat so that you are covering more ground, thereby increasing the possibility of finding more fish. Depending upon the amount of weight that is used, you control the different steps, and in some cases, you may be using multiple lines that are rigged to various depths to help find more fish.

If you have ever seen a boat with outriggers, which are similar to long poles that hang off the sides of the boat over the water, then you should be aware that they are used for trolling in order to get the line further away from the boat and to keep them from tangling with the other lines. Trolling does not need to be complicated, and it can be as simple as dropping your line in the water behind the boat and letting it trail behind you while the boat is in motion. At some point or another, most anglers tend to get more complicated with the type of trolling that they do and they see various degrees of success when doing so.

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