Are you a fan of fishing but struggling to bring home a good catch? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many anglers find it challenging to succeed on their fishing trips. However, with a little knowledge and some basic skills, you can improve your chances of reeling in a satisfying haul. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of fishing under sail, focusing on catching two popular and delicious fish: bass and mackerel.
Think Like a Fish
To set the foundation for success, it’s essential to start thinking like a fish. Fish are creatures of habit, and understanding their behavior is key to increasing your chances of a fruitful catch. According to Jon Holgate, an experienced angler, “80% of success in fishing is down to preparing your fishing gear, and 10% is down to skill.” The remaining 10%? Well, that’s just plain luck!
Choosing the Right Gear
When it comes to choosing your fishing gear, having the right equipment is vital. While a hand-line can suffice at a basic level, using a rod is recommended for a more enjoyable experience. Select a trolling rod designed to handle high loads, and if space is limited on your boat, consider a compact kayak rod. Don’t forget to pick a reel that’s compatible with your chosen rod.
Lures or Live Bait?
The choice between lures and live bait depends on personal preference and fishing conditions. While live bait like small crabs or frozen squid can be effective, lures offer convenience and often mimic the movements of small bait-fish. Bass and mackerel rely on their eyesight to feed, so lures that imitate the movement of their prey work well. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you.
Finding the Best Fishing Spots
To increase your chances of success, it’s essential to find the best fishing spots. Seek advice from local experts, such as tackle shops or experienced fishermen, who have insider knowledge of the area. Look for seabed features like sandbanks, rocks, ledges, and wrecks, which tend to attract fish. Surface indications like swirls, overfalls, and eddies can also indicate depth changes and potential fishing hotspots.
Techniques for Catching Mackerel
Mackerel are known for their voracious appetite, making them relatively easy to catch. One effective method is trolling, where you use a paravane to trail lures behind your boat. This technique works best when your boat is moving at a speed of 2-4 knots. Drifting is another option; use a rig with a weight and feathers or bait, allowing it to sink to the bottom before reeling it back up as your boat drifts with the tide.
Techniques for Catching Bass
Bass are powerful swimmers and opportunistic predators. They can be found in coastal waters and are often caught in shallow areas over weed, mud, rocks, or sand during incoming tides. Trolling with bigger hooks and lures is an effective method for bass fishing. Alternatively, try drifting or anchoring with a rig that includes a weight and a long line with a large hook. Bait the hook with pieces of squid or small fish.
Tips for Success
Here are a few additional tips to increase your chances of success:
- Pay attention to birds: Diving gannets and other seabirds are indicators of fish near the surface. If you spot seabirds feeding, head in that direction; you’re likely to find a good fishing spot.
- Time your fishing: Fish tend to feed twice a day, at dawn and dusk. Plan your fishing trips accordingly to maximize your chances of catching them during these feeding times.
- Be patient and persistent: Fishing requires patience. Be prepared to try different techniques and locations until you find what works best for you.
- Use the right knot: When tying hooks and lines, use a secure knot like the grinner knot. It’s easy to tie and provides strength and security.
The Final Catch
Remember, fishing is not just about catching fish; it’s about enjoying the experience. Conservation of fish stocks is essential for the future of fish species, so only keep what you intend to eat and release the rest back into the water. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll improve your chances of a successful fishing trip. So, grab your gear, head out to the water, and let the adventure begin!
For all your fishing needs, check out East Coast Paddle Sports. They offer a wide range of fishing equipment and expert advice to enhance your angling experience.
This article is based on the original piece published in Practical Boat Owner.