If you're planning a day's deep sea fishing with your mates, you'll want to know how to spot those really big catches from the boat. There are some sure signs that something huge lurks beneath the waves; read on to find out what to look for.
Locating and catching bait
Before you can start serious fishing, you will need to secure yourself plenty of bait. Keep an eye out for patches of disturbed water with intermittent white-water pops. This is a sure indication that there is a school of bait fish under the water but keep your boat to the outside edge of the school so that you don't spook the shoal.
The water around fixed markers like mooring buoys and drilling rigs is a good place to find sheltering bait fish. Make sure that you allow for the current strength when choosing weights for your line; if your rig is too light, the current will push your hooks away from the target area, if the rig is too heavy, it will whiz past the bait fish before they can react to it.
Locating the big fish
Bait schools are typically a good sign that there are large, predatory fish in the vicinity. You can use your on-board sonography gear to spot big game fish below your boat, but keep an eye out for any bait activity on the surface. When hunting, tuna and marlin will drive bait fish up to the surface in order to trap them. Watch out for big explosions of white froth at the water's surface and use kites or drifting through this zone to snag a predator.
Birds are a great indicator of the location of bait schools that will also attract big, predatory fish. In particular, look out for distinctive frigate birds circling over the water. Also, watch out for birds sitting on the surface and bait fish flying out of the water to grab air, as they flee from predatory fish.
Rafts of weed can be a great place to locate tuna and billfish. Pull your bait along the edges of the weed mat but be careful not to get your line snagged.
It's essential that you're ready and waiting for the chance to go for a big deep sea fish. Bait schools can appear from out of nowhere and you'll need to have multiple rigs ready to go at a moment's notice.
When you're heading out to the deep water in search of game fish, you can save valuable time by knowing what signs to look out for that could give away the location of bait schools and the big hunters. Follow the tips given above to ensure that you spend more time fishing and less time waiting for a big one to appear.