Offshore Fishing How To


The End Game

“Fish on!” is the sound all offshore fishermen live for. You’ve trolled through miles of blue water and suddenly the rigger pin snaps, the rod bends, and the fight is on. The line is disappearing at an alarming rate, your sea monster is getting farther and farther away and every instinct in your body is screaming, “Stop the boat!”


Wind-on Swivels

There is one time where we always include a swivel in our wind-on leader system: when we are chunking dead bait for yellowfin tuna. Unlike all of the other wind-on leader applications such as trolling and live baiting, retrieving chunked dead bait can cause severe twist in your main line and leader. To help reduce line twist, we connect the wind-on leader to the main line with a high quality barrel swivel.


Bait Trays Rigged and Ready

Keeping trolling baits fresh and durable is essential; bait trays make it a cinch. Bait trays are available in a variety of materials, as well as shapes and sizes specific to different cooler brands and dimensions.


Homemade Eel Lures

A lure with a strong silhouette—I like black best—that’s got some wiggling action and can be made in a variety of sizes is ideal. A cost-effective, homeboy customized “eel” made from a bicycle inner tube is a great rig.


Kite Fishing Tips

With winter winds right around the corner, now is a good time to refresh your kite-fishing supplies. Let’s look at a few accessories that enable us to maximize kite fishing success in varying conditions.


Finding the Blue Water

The Gulf of Mexico is a hard place to fish offshore. You have to travel upwards of a hundred miles to get to 100 fathoms, if you live in the Big Bend or south towards the Tampa area. The Panhandle, you are a lot closer to the deep water, but also a lot closer to that huge muddy river to the west.


Easy Stinger Rigs

King mackerel fishermen know all about downsizing tackle to lure big fish to the bait. Smaller diameter fishing lines, lighter gauge hooks and swivels are more likely to catch the eye of a mature and educated king mackerel. Perhaps the most critical adjustment, however, is in the size of the wire bite leader.

Planer 1

Planers for Wahoo

In the clear Gulf Stream water that sweeps along the coast of South Florida, wahoo aficionados use the scaled-down planer method to entice more strikes than they might otherwise get with the heavy lures and steel cable leaders used in high-speed trolling.

rig 6

Best Rigs for Bottom Fishing

When thinking of bottom fishing, most imagine a cooler full of fish and a hot meal on the table. What about the days you can’t convince a keeper to eat? Fishing with the right rig can make all the difference.


What to Look for Offshore

My all-time favorite surface feature, which I often look for when fishing close to an inlet, is a tide line. Tide lines are typically formed at the mouths of inlets that feed into the ocean. Here, an incoming or falling tide will have a tide line on either side of the inlet, created by the currents colliding with ocean waters.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.45.25 AM

Live Bait Trolling (Bump Trolling)

Florida Sportsman’s Rick Ryals gives advice on how-to most effectively slow troll live baits while offshore fishing. It’s important to note that trolling live bait is not the same as trolling dead baits and lures. Live baits would quickly die if pulled at similar speeds. Not to mention, look very unnatural.


Using Scented Soft Plastics Offshore

In this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals shows us that heading offshore for tasty bottom creatures doesn’t always require picking up frozen baits or stopping to throw the net or sabiki rig, it can be as easy as grabbing a pack of scented soft plastic lures.


Choosing the Right Hook

In this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals tells us what the most important things are to consider when selecting the right hook for the job. Ryals explains which hooks are best for live bait and dead baits, and the key differences and advantages of using j-hooks and circle hooks.


Organize Your Hooks

One of the keys to successful live bait fishing is matching the size and style hook to the bait you fish. Regardless of whether you catch or buy your bait, baits vary in size from trip to trip. That’s why we’ve developed a hook box system so that we are always prepared to find the right hook for the bait at hand and the species of fish that we are targeting.


Nighttime Swordfishing Rigs

In the FS Seminar, Florida Sportsman editor Jeff Weakley joins Harry Schafer at Grand Slam Tackle & Marine Supply. Weakley and Schafer go over some basic rigging for catching swordfish at night.


Save That Kite!

Fishing kites withstand a lot of abuse, but over time components may fail. Even the most experienced kite fisherman occasionally dunks a kite, and now and then a strut, string or crosspiece breaks. At least for recovered kites, there’s a good chance it will fly again. Torn ones won’t, but can be kept for parts. Here are some ways to save your kites.