Offshore Fishing


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.


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.


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.


Northeast Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: Bigchocolatelab Broke the jetty’s to light NE winds and pretty seas. Plan for the day was to load up on white baits and fish deep. Found all the bait we wanted at the barge and pointed her east. Arrived in 160 feet and didn’t see much on bottom. We dropped lines anyways and found bite to be sluggish at first. Finally found the fish and managed to get on an incredible drift.


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.


Bunker Busters

No fish in the sea is immune to the lure of fresh menhaden. If menhaden ranged throughout Florida, I’m convinced they would top every angler’s list of best baits. These fish are oily, reflective and loaded with energy. From the backwaters to the beaches, they’re a top menu item for a huge variety of gamefish, from seatrout to sailfish.


Destin Red Snapper Adventure

Florida Sportsman member: mahiwahi Several casts in I hooked a fish and it went flying into the air. I thought I had foul hooked a bonita but my friend yelled “it’s a dolphin”. Since it’s January I was in disbelief but as it got closer and I saw yellow I knew he was right.

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Cobia and the Rays

Most of us already know about cobia: great fighters, willing to eat most offerings and awesome tablefare. Sight-fishing is an exciting way to target them. Sometimes you’ll find free-swimming cobia, but often the fish are following large rays.


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.

nw mangrove

Starting the Season Right

Florida Sportsman Member: KayakMacGyver The next spot had an absolute incredible show of fish on the bottom. As quick as we could get a bait to the bottom, our rods were getting doubled over. HUGE sow snapper, one after the other. In between the snapper, we caught a few red grouper and a healthy stock of sea bass.


Mexico Beach Mixed Bag

Their idea of a “high-rise?” Fish condos in 60 feet of water. Gotta love this Gulf Coast town.


Mangrove Snapper Topside

An often fast-paced and highly visual pursuit, snaring mangroves within a rod length of the transom defines “cool,” but it’s also practically advantageous. Normally, when a guy tells me my fishing day will involve glass minnows and pompano jigs, I assume we’re talking flats and beaches.


Luna Sea Leader-Mate

Just wrap your rigs — monofilament, fluorocarbon, even wire — around LEADER-MATE, then store your sinkers,divers/planners,hooks or other terminal tackle in LEADER-MATE’s innovative and patented pockets, and you’re ready to go.


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.

Slick calm days are fewer than in summer, but the average fish is bigger. This one's 130 pounds, taken by the Three Buoys crew off Palm Beach County.

Warming Up to Winter Swordfish

Many of the largest swordfish of the year are caught as they migrate through our waters in winter. Each year as the weather turns cold, Florida east coast anglers begin targeting sailfish as they migrate south with each passing cold front. When chasing sailfish, the best fishing usually occurs on the leading edge of the cold front when the wind is blowing the hardest and the seas are rough.


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.


Sailfish Alley North

High-leaping Atlantic sails gather at the northern end of Sailfish Alley in early winter. Ft. Pierce, at the north end of Sailfish Alley, heats up when temperatures drop. A walk down Fort Pierce docks reads like a Who’s Who list of sailfish chasers.


3rd Annual FS Northeast Bash & Tournament

The 3rd Annual Northeast Florida Sportsman Bash and Tournament is this weekend, September 26th & 27th! This is a family event AND a fishing tournament.


Live Bait Rigging Methods

The way a live bait is rigged when trolling can make a world of a difference when it comes to the way the bait swims through the water. Florida Sportsman’s Rick Ryals explains a few simple techniques that will get your bait swimming the right way, depending on they type of fishing you want to do.