Captain's Log

Use These 3 Techniques to Avoid Getting Skunked

Published January 15th, 2024

Mastering the Art of Trolling: In the realm of offshore fishing, trolling is an indispensable and dynamic tactic for anglers setting their sights on coveted catches like tuna, mackerel, wahoo, and mahi mahi. This technique offers a transformative edge by enabling anglers to cover vast distances in their search for fish. We like trolling a spread of artificial lures, ballyhoo, and planers. This allows us to target a wide variety of species, both those close to the surface, and those down deeper like wahoo and mackerel. This strategic approach not only maximizes the chances of a successful catch, but it is also one of the easier techniques for novice anglers. While trolling, we pay attention to the sonar so that we can locate schools of fish and pass by various spots with structure like shipwrecks.

If you want to learn how to rig a wind on planer, check out how we do it by clicking the link CLICK HERE

Work the bottom: When the surface bite seems unproductive, turning attention to the ocean floor can yield bountiful results. Snapper, amberjack, and grouper, known for their preference for deeper waters, are more likely to be enticed by the offerings dropped to the bottom.  Often there will be adverse water conditions like very green water or no current on the reef. Prized species like sailfish, tuna and mahi mahi might not really be biting as a result. Rather than stick out a tactic like kite fishing on the reef, we’ll often switch tactics and focus on bottom fishing for species like vermillion snapper, grouper, or amberjacks.  For the smaller species we prefer a multi hook chicken rig and cut bait like squid or bonita. The larger species like grouper and amberjack will require heavier tackle, and live bait like pinfish or blue runners. We prefer to fish near shipwrecks and use a minimum of 100-pound leaders.

Click HERE to see the rig we like to use.

Live Bait is King: It goes without saying that live bait is the best bait… We start every charter catching live bait and will go out of our way to obtain it because it’s that important to success. It can either make or break your day of fishing. We aim to catch blue runners, herring, cigar minnows and pilchards. They are relatively easy to catch in Miami and can be purchased if you want to skip bait and just focus on fishing for the big ones. Every fisherman should be equipped with sabikis, chum and a cast net. Knowing how to use those three will guarantee you catch some decent bait to take offshore.  Live bait can be fishing in a variety of different presentations except for trolling and used to catch anything swimming out there. Knowing how to hook your live bait can impact its effectiveness. For kite fishing, we like to bridle our baits through their shoulder.  For bottom fishing and flat-lining or free-lining, a nose bridle is the way to go. The ultimate use of live bait is using it as chum to raise sailfish and tunas.

Click HERE to read our thoughts on live chumming.

Try making these three tactics part of every offshore fishing trip and watch your overall success skyrocket.  You don’t want to be the guy who comes back empty handed only to find out later that the kingfish were chewing like crazy on the planers, but you only tried bottom fishing all day…  Although mixing and matching tactics throughout the day requires more preparation and effort, it can surely turn a slow day on the water into an epic one.  

‹ Back