How to Choose the Perfect Offshore Fishing Tackle
It does not matter what type of fisherman you are, you have too many lures. And you are going to keep adding to your lures, so you have the perfect one for every situation.
This is true of any enthusiast or expert.
You could be a snow skier, or a fly fisherman, or a bow hunter, or a gun enthusiast. More is always better when it and sportfishing lures are no exception.
But all jokes aside, you want to have the right lure for the right situation. If you are trolling for mahi, you might need different tackle than trolling for marlin. And if you are trolling for a specific species, let’s say marlin, then you are still going to be testing which lures works best, always looking for the perfect one.
So your collection will grow. But it is important to make sure it’s growing intelligently and that there is some type of system or thought behind your lure and tackle acquisitions.
For the longest time, scientist maintained that fish like marlin could not see colors. Yet if you would ask any experienced marlin fisherman, they would swear that certain colored lures and lure skirt and certain color combinations of the two, did in fact help to catch fish.
Anglers were convinced that these aquatic predators could detect colors and swore that some of their lures worked better than others, based on their color and the science could be damned, this stuff worked.
Well, turns out, the science was damned, and Dr. Kerstin Fritsche is a leading researcher in this field of fish physiology and vision research, which you can read more about here: http://masweb.vims.edu/bridge/datatip.cfm?Bridge_Location=archive0305.html
Of course, the idea that fish can detect colors is nuanced. Certain fish can detect certain colors, and it also depends on factors like depth of water and how close or far away they are to an object.
This makes sense because this sounds very similar to human vision.
Anyway, that is a long way of saying that fish can see color, so if your lures match the colors that a marlin or a dolphin’s favorite prey look like, then you probably have a better catch of success.
If the species you are targeting likes to snack of smaller fish like skipjack, then having purplish black lure setups on your tackle box are going to really improve your odds.
Now remember, this only matter is the species you are targeting swims in somewhat shallow depths. Color needs light to distinguish it and at a certain depth, the sunlight doesn’t penetrate and at that point your lure and skirt color combination cease to make a difference.
Do Some Lures Work Better Than Others?
Yes, like anything some lures are better at catching fish than others. But there are a lot of factors that go into one lure performing better than the other. It’s obviously important that the lures are high quality like the hand make trolling lures from Fathom Offshore. Do not buy cheap crap made in China if you are trying to land a large predatory fighting fish.
Now, even when you have got a great lure that has colors that match the prey that the fish eats and that makes movements that closely mimic the prey, be prepared for variation. Sometimes a great lure will work amazing and your landing fish left and right, and the next day that great lure won’t do anything and it will be completely ignored.
There is nothing wrong with that. That is just the way it is, that’s fishing.
How can you improve your chances?
It is pretty common for an angler to fall in love with a favorite lure, and decide to fill their entire trolling spread with that favorite lure. The thinking is, the favorite lure has worked so well in the past, why not just multiply your odds of success by filling the entire spread with the favored lure?
As simple as this idea is, is not a bad one. If something works, keep with it!
If you are a beginner, this is a solid plan to follow. Complexity is not your friend. You can get lost in all the different tackle combinations to add to a spread. And you will lose confidence. If you do not have confidence in your approach and your choice of lures, then you will constantly be readjusting and basically just messing around.
Then you will find yourself at the dock at the end of the day with no fish.
So, if you have something you think works for you, even if it is a bit unconventional, stick with it. What you want to look out for, is when this approach stops being effective. When your success rate falls off, that is the time to add some variety into the spread.
If you are using all dark colored lures, try mixing in some brighter contrasting lures and skirt combos. If you are using mostly larger trolling lures, try mixing in some smaller ones. The small ones can be just as effective, if not more so, than larger and extra large lures.
And the opposite is also true. If you look and realize that your trolling spread is a complicated mess of different size lures, colors, and tackle, and you are not getting the results you want. Switch it up by simplifying your spread. Cut down on the lures, squids, sizes, and colors.
Mix it up. Variety is your friend.
Think about how the bait would look in nature. An entire pod of baitfish seems like it should be effective. But if it is not, mix in tackle that mimics a feeding predator. This will attract larger gamefish because they will have to investigate because their instincts recognize that they might have a chance to feed.
Location, Location, Location.
Where are you fishing? Are you off the coast of the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Or are you trolling fifteen miles offshore in the Florida Keys? Are you fishing in a dead or lifeless area of the ocean? Or are you trolling around reefs and submerged structures and places that are teaming with aquatic wildlife.
Location is always important. You don’t want to use brightly colored lures, if there are no brightly colored bait in that area of the ocean. This being said, if you are picking colors that mimic the baits the species you are targeting prefers, then this problem basically solves itself.
But you still need to be aware of the second problem. Life begets life. If you are fishing in an area where the isn’t a lot of other aquatic wildlife, then why would the predatory fish you are trying to catch hang out there?
It wouldn’t. Fish hang out where the have a good chance of getting food.
As always, you need to go where the fish are.