Imagine an excursion into the deep oceans to battle the monsters lurking beneath the waves. An ultimate quest for survival between you, the hunter, looking to bring home the day’s catch to feed your family, and the thousands of fishes in the depths below that would eat you if given a chance. This is the imagination’s idea of deep-sea fishing, and although the reality is epic, it isn’t nearly as intense.
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What is Deep Sea Fishing?
Deep sea fishing is going out into the ocean to catch some large fish that call ocean waters home. However, it’s not an intense man versus nature experience unless you try really hard to make it be.
Instead, it’s a fun way to spend a day. You get to go out in a boat into the open waters of the ocean and try your hand at catching some of the tasty inhabitants of the deep. Fishing in the deep sea is a fun and engaging way to hang out with your friends and perhaps even catch a little dinner!
How Dangerous is Deep Sea Fishing?
If you take a deep sea fishing tour with a reputable tour company, it’s completely safe. The deckhands are trained professionals and are available to help you with all aspects of your fishing adventure, from baiting the hook to reeling in your haul.
Obviously, there is risk involved in everything you do. You never know when a pop-up storm will hit, and people have fallen overboard in even the safest boating adventures. However, the risks of real danger befalling you on a deep sea fishing quest are pretty low. If you follow all the instructions from the deckhands and don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger, you will be fine.
The most intense fishing expeditions will strap you into a chair so that you can reel in the massive creatures of the deep. These tours are more expensive than the traditional deep sea fishing expeditions, but these are types of tours that will help you catch the big guys, like Blue Marlins.
Blue Marlin Fishing
Blue Marlins are some of the most iconic fish you can catch. They live in the warm waters of the Caribbean and can be caught with deep sea fishing expeditions off the Florida coast. They are dangerous suckers, but they make gorgeous trophy fish if you can catch one.
The best tours for catching marlin will include fighting chairs. These are chairs that you strap yourself into right on the deck of the boat that will prevent the fish from pulling you right off the deck. These monsters of the ocean put up a great fight, but with an experienced crew, they will be no match for you.
How Far Out Do You Go Deep Sea Fishing?
Deep sea fishing is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, you get to go out to the ocean beyond the coastal waters to catch fish. But you aren’t fishing in the deepest depths of the sea. Usually, the fishing expeditions only go far enough from the shore to get to reasonably deep waters, and the crew generally know where the best fishing spots in their waters are. Often, it will be near reefs, seaweed gardens, or shipwrecks, as many fish species enjoy habitats with plenty of places to hide, and these environments offer that to them.
When I went on an excursion from Long Beach, Ca, we only went a few miles from the shore. In fact, we were almost off the coast of Catalina Island- but that was the best place to catch fish. You can find tours that will take you further out, but you should trust your guides if your goal is the best fishing.
How Do You Catch Fish in the Deep Sea?
Catching fish in the deep sea is similar to catching fish anywhere: you just need the right type of bait and tackle. Live bait tends to work best, and you can use anything from nightcrawlers to smaller fish. Squid is a top choice as well.
The rest of the process is pretty much the same. You cast your line into the water and either wait until you feel a tug or do your best to jiggle it around a little to catch the fishes’ attention. Most of us who are embarking on the fishing trips aren’t pro anglers, but the deckhands can help us make sure we have our line and jigging correct and help us reel in the fish if we need it.
What Types of Fish Can I Catch?
The types of fish you can catch while fishing in the sea vary greatly on your location. The species of fish living in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico will be different than those that live in the frigid Alaskan waters.
If you are fishing in the Atlantic, you can catch things like amberjack, snapper, marlin, Mahi-Mahi (dolphin fish), and even swordfish. Some lucky folks may even be able to catch tuna in those waters! Pacific anglers might catch species like halibut, albacore, barracuda, and calico bass.
There are thousands of fish species, so you never know what you will catch. The deckhands will help you determine if the fish you caught is harvestable or a protected species you need to throw back. Catch and Release is a common practice when fishing to protect our ocean environments.
Should I Charter a Fishing Vessel or Take a Tour?
Deep sea fishing trips are generally offered in two ways – through fishing charter or through a fishing tour. When you charter a fishing boat, you get individual attention. The boat and the crew are there to assist just you and your friends and help you with your fishing needs. When you book a fishing tour, you are getting on a boat with various other people.
Charter fishing is undeniably the better experience; however, it also costs more. It is far more expensive to rent a boat and crew for the day for just a few friends than it is to split the coast amongst a large group.
Ideally, you could get a group of twenty or so of your friends and charter a boat. This way, you split the cost between a large group, but you still get to be with your friends. Be sure that you are chartering a big enough boat for the number of people you have.
What Do I Need to Go Deep Sea Fishing?
Before you head out on your sport fishing adventure, make sure you have all the right gear. Here are the things you need to bring with you to have an awesome trip.
You need a fishing license to go deep sea fishing. Fishing regulations vary by state, so be sure that you have one for the state that you are in. Often, charter companies will verify you have a license before you embark, and some can even help you get one. You can call the company and ask if they provide licenses, or you can go to a state agency that issues licenses before your trip.
Personal Comfort Items
Next, you need to consider your personal comfort while you are at sea. Many expeditions are either half-day or full-day, so you will need to bring snacks and water. In addition, you will probably want to bring sunscreen, a sun hat, sunglasses, and wear comfortable clothes. Check the weather before you head out to determine whether you should bring a rain jacket and an extra sweater – it can get cold out there on the open ocean!
You may also want to bring a camera to snap photos of your catch or even film any of your epic moments battling sea creatures. The best type of camera to use for these outdoor adventures is a GoPro. GoPros are small, easy to carry, and water-resistant, so the splashes aren’t going to cause it any issues. They take amazing videos too!
If you book a deep-sea fishing tour, you shouldn’t need to bring any fishing gear with you. Most tours will offer all the rods and reels that you need. You can bring your own if you so choose, or you can rent one for the trip.
However, if you are chartering a boat or a yacht that isn’t specifically designed for deep-sea fishing, you may need to bring your own gear. You will need fishing rods designed to handle large ocean fish, reels powerful enough to pull them in, and lines strong enough to keep them hooked. This stuff can get expensive, but there are plenty of resources for budget fishing reels and other accessories. If you’re only going to go one time, it might be best to book a tour so you don’t have to worry about these additional expenses, but if it’s something you will do regularly, getting your own gear is ideal.
Cash is an important thing to bring with you. You may want to purchase special bait, like squid, from the bait stands, or you may want to pay the deckhands to handle all the gross things that come with fishing, like baiting a hook or cleaning up and filleting your catch. You can do these things on your own, but you can also tip the deckhands for doing them for you.
Most ships have a galley on board where you can buy snacks, but oftentimes they only accept cash. Having cash available will ensure that you have the best experience possible.
Nothing will turn your epic fishing trip into a horrible disaster like seasickness. Seasickness is a type of motion sickness that is caused by the rocking motion of the boat.
Unless you commonly suffer from motion sickness, it will be difficult to determine whether you will get seasick or not. The best bet is to prevent it. Take some Dramamine before you head out, and have some on hand with you in case you start to feel sick during your deep sea adventure. It’s available over the counter at most pharmacies.
Where Can I Find Deep Sea Fishing Tours?
The easiest way to find a sports fishing tour is through Fishing Booker. This website will help you find the best options for a fishing adventure near you (or near your travel destination). If you’re looking for an epic fishing trip for your next vacation, scan the QR code or head to Fishing Booker and book your adventure!
Some Bonuses of Deep Sea Fishing
Fishing out in the deep sea is an epic adventure and definitely worth giving a try. But if you aren’t convinced, think of all the cool advantages deep sea fishing trips have.
First, you can see a ton of aquatic species. I’ve spotted sea lions, dolphins and even spotted a whale while out on a fishing trip. Although this isn’t the primary goal of these expeditions (and sea lions are the bane of fisher’s existence – they will steal the fish right off your line!), it’s fun to see this marine life in its natural environment.
The other main reason you should consider it is that this type of fishing is the embodiment of man versus wild. You are out there, in the elements, fighting against some of nature’s largest creatures. You get all the glory and triumph without any of the risks that commercial fishermen face (ok, when you are going out into the ocean, there is always some risk. But the risk you will face while deep sea fishing pales in comparison to the risk undertaken by professionals).
Finally, fishing out in the deep ocean with a few of your closest pals is a great adventure to have with your friends. It’s one of the top-rated things to do in California, with tons of expeditions heading out from both San Diego and Long Beach. It’s also a big hit in Florida off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. It’s a great way to spend a day hanging out with your friends on the open waters. Any state with a coast is a good place to try deep sea fishing!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.