Okay, let’s get it straight, the ocean is a vast space with limited structure. So what would be the next important component to finding large predatory fish? Well, as to all fishing situations we are always trying to establish a pattern. In the ocean, that pattern is to find a natural bait source and fish around it.
When you find baitfish, you will mark them with your electronics or by eyesight, viewing a dark ball on the water’s surface with a circular motion. This is because when a group of baitfish gets into trouble they congregate tightly with one another forming a spinning ball as a defense mechanism. So when you see this it immediately suggests that some predatory fish are aggressively feeding on the bait.
In figure 1 I am hooked up with a Mahi-Mahi which vigorously disappeared my clouser fly. This style of fishing is specific to areas such as the ocean or extremely large open bodies of water where the bait sources have no structure to escape to. If you can’t find any bait use your electronics and make waypoints wherever you can find deep water with a significant temperature break. When I say temperature break, I mean one of two degrees, the ocean is an extensive area and any subtle habitat change will generally yield healthy doses of a wide array of predatory game fish.
On this day, the winds were very light and the sun had limited cloud cover. Before we departed offshore for our trip we searched the bays and estuaries to catch bait fish. If you can’t find a live bait source then speed trolling frozen ballyhoo across deep water temperature breaks would be another effective option.
When rigging live bait, it is important to sharpen your hook before use as well as always use a circle hook. Circle hooks are important to the safety of the game fish because they incorporate a small hook gap which only hooks the fish in the corner of the mouth. If you plan to fly fish offshore make sure you check local baitfish species and tie up some flies to replicate them. If you are using large plugs of fly equipment make sure you always use a speedy and surface popping presentation. Saltwater fish are born to thrive in space, so when you are offshore always have your eyes on the water. On this day we were spot hopping when we ran into a group of Mahi-Mahi in a random open space with no structure, bait, or temperature breaks around. The key to success in all fishing environments is being an observant angler and better yourself with water tested knowledge!
Love where we live and be thankful for the greatness of our remaining underwater ecosystems,