Trolling sea walls, reefs or wrecks, waiting for a nibble is one of the most exciting ways to spend a day on the ocean. Sports fishing, the action packed, adrenaline pumping cousin to deep-sea fishing, has become extremely popular across the world. Here we’ll take a look at why.
Whilst traditional deep sea fishing involves trawling several miles off shore to drop anchors into the depths of the ocean, sports fishing takes places in slightly shallower waters, in areas teeming with sea life. Sea walls, the edges of coral reefs and wreck sites are all usually packed full of a diverse array of fish; all waiting for you to bait them in.
For your first trip, enquire with your resort or head down to the local marina or harbour. You can sports fish anywhere with reef and in many other tropical waters. The Turks and Caicos Islands are an example of brilliant sport fishing; visit www.gsfishing.com for more information.
On your first trips, let the captain and his crew take care of all your rods and tackle as it is far cheaper to hire gear than it is to purchase it and take it on holiday with you. Usually rod, line and tackle hire will come included in the price of your trip but double check when you book to make sure.
On the day of your trip you’ll set out for the coral heads and the captain’s crew will set up your rods and lures. Sports fishing involves using fixed spool reels, lightweight tackle and live bait for maximum action and minimal fuss. You’ll drop a number of lures out of the back of the boat and begin trolling the coral, waiting for a nibble. This is where the excitement starts and the fun really begins.
The tension will build until a reel snaps and begins to spin as something below takes a bite. You’ll need to run over, firmly take hold of the rod and pull it out of its holder. The battle is about to commence. If the rod is jammed pull it firmly towards you to dislodge it from its holder.
Bring the rod towards you and rest the butt around your hip, gripping it with your left hand as high above the reel as possible. Your right hand should be free to wind in the line with the reel handle. Settle into a comfortable position as you might be battling this nibble for fifteen minutes or more! With any luck one of the crew will come over to assist you and help you put on a butt pad to make holding the rod a little more comfortable. Find yourself a stable position by wedging your knees under the boat’s padded combing. From here you’ll start to reel in your catch.
From here, the number one piece of advice for beginners is to keep the line tight. The tip of the rod needs to be bent to show you that the hook is being held in place else your catch will quickly slip off and escape. Keep winding in the reel to keep the line tight and ensure the fish doesn’t get a moments rest.
Before you begin frantically reeling in your catch, wait for the line to stop screaming as there is no way you’ll be able to outdo a fish in flight. Once your catch has tired and stopped running the reel will stop whirring quite so fiercely and you can begin your battle to bring the fish aboard.
To reel in your catch, raise the tip of the rod so it is pointing out in front of you no higher than your head and begin winding as you slowly lower it to point roughly parallel with the boat. Do not lower the tip so that it is pointing at the fish. Repeat this motion over and over as smoothly as possible to real the fish in until it is near the boat.
At this stage it is important to prevent the line touching the side of the boat as this will give your catch a chance to escape. The captain will also play a role here in manoeuvring the boat to keep the fish away from any rudders or props although it is up to you to move too in order to bring the fish within tagging distance.
Following the crew’s instructions, bring your catch aboard or, if you are releasing it, tag and let her go back into the wild. Be warned – there will be fish that get away. It happens to even the most experiencing anglers so don’t be disheartened, but learn from the experience and get ready for your next nibble!