From the size and size of the oceans to the strength and speed of the creatures that live in them, a trip offshore can change your perspective in ways that have little to do with fish.
Many dynamics of offshore fishing can only be described in relation to other Bluewater experiences. No matter how many 12 pound largemouth bass you’ve caught, it doesn’t compare to battling a 500 pound blue marlin or a 150 pound yellow fin tuna.
Read on for an introduction to offshore fishing (and why we think everyone should try). You don’t have to go to a specific location or catch a specific type of fish. The ocean is an all-encompassing place with endless experiences.
The power of scale and perspective
These days we live in a largely demand-driven society. We’re so used to getting what we want right away that sometimes we forget that our planet is more powerful than us (something that people who lived 200 years ago surely understood).
The time at sea offers a great dose of perspective. When you are offshore and can only see water in all directions – as far as the eye can see – remind yourself that there are forces that are beyond our control.
Without delving into the metaphysical, this type of perspective can be valuable against the contrast of busy days, work life, and land-based commitments.
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Fish size and unpredictability
One of the most fundamental differences between freshwater and saltwater fish is the size of the fishing opportunities. If you put a minnow under a bobber in a lake, you may have a realistic chance of catching three to five species. The maximum size of fish you might encounter is 10 or 12 pounds in most cases.
However, if you drop some bait offshore, you never know what you might get. Not only is the variety of targets far greater, but the size of your quarry can range from half a pound to several hundred. With apologies to the walleye and crappie, marine fish can even change your view of what makes a good meal.
This is not an exaggeration. Part of the charm of Offshore fishing is the story of the giant mysterious creature that you became addicted and couldn’t stop. Some of these invisible beasts will take over your entire line before they drop you off. Some are said to be submarines.
Plus, you can catch really big fish in most places – you can catch 8-, 10-, or even 12-foot sharks in the surf. Giant groupers can live surprisingly close to shore, sometimes even under docks. When you are offshore and using bait in an environment that cannot be seen by human eyes, you literally have no idea what could happen.
You could catch the exact fish you’re looking for only to be eaten by a shark, grouper, or barracuda. There is no telling what might be floating next to the boat.
Any day offshore can spawn a sight you will never forget – it doesn’t always happen, but you certainly can’t guarantee it won’t.
The experience of awe
Awe seldom visits most people. But it lives off the coast.
Experiencing the size, speed and power of offshore wild fish will delight even the most experienced captains. Things that weigh 500 pounds won’t fly on land. Bull elk or moose cannot do what a blue marlin can.
It is an awe-inspiring scene to see a giant animal completely throw itself out of the water – sometimes 20 or more feet from where it exits to re-enter -. This feeling is not limited to the largest and most “glamorous” gamefish in the ocean, however.
The interesting thing about the process of becoming a skilled offshore fisherman is that it is an evolution. The first time you fish offshore, the way you look at a “big” fish may very well change.
Perhaps your first big fish will be a 25 pound jack or a 50 pound kingfish. Your next catch could be a 75-pound yellow fin tuna. After that, you could be hanging out in a 200-pound bull shark. Each of these experiences then reformulates your point of reference and affects the trajectory of what you want to do next.
Another way of access
One of the best things about offshore fishing is its availability and diversity around the world. Oceans cover more than two thirds of the earth’s surface. Nowadays, almost every coastal tourist destination offers some sort of offshore fishing experience.
A particularly good option for a first trip is to buy a ticket for a party boat (in some places they are called “head boats”). These boats sell cheap tickets for a day off the coast. The advantage of this approach is that you can buy a ticket or two – priced at $ 80 each – without having to rent the entire boat.
These boats usually target school fish that are easy to catch and have all of the tackle, bait and equipment needed. My first time fishing offshore was on a party boat in Port Aransas, TexasWhen I was 12 years old you can catch surprisingly large fish aboard these boats and see if you want to fish more offshore.
Once you have decided on the yes answer, you can incorporate fishing into family vacations and travel plans. This is a great way to see the world, learn new cultures, and catch bigger, more exciting fish.