Offshore Fishing

Mastering Offshore Fishing Techniques

Are you ready to take your offshore trolling to the next level? If you're looking to pack the fish box, then mastering offshore fishing techniques is a must. In this article, we'll dive into everything you need to know to become a true angling expert in offshore waters.

Offshore fishing presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. From battling powerful fish to navigating oceanic expanses, there's nothing quite like the thrill of offshore fishing. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a weekend warrior looking to expand your horizons, we've got you covered.

We'll explore essential equipment, such as rods, reels, and tackle, that you'll need to land those trophy fish. You'll also learn about bait and tackle selection, trolling techniques, and how to effectively locate and target different species.

So get ready to embark on an exciting adventure and master the art of offshore fishing. Follow our expert tips and techniques, and soon you'll be reeling in those trophy catches with confidence and skill. Get ready to become the envy of all your fishing buddies!

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Choosing the right equipment for offshore fishing

Selecting the right equipment is crucial for offshore fishing. The type of rod, reel, and tackle you choose can greatly impact your success on the water. When it comes to rods, look for a sturdy and durable option that can handle the weight and power of offshore game fish. A medium-heavy to heavy rod with a fast action is generally recommended for offshore fishing.

In terms of reels, a spinning reel or a conventional reel are the most common choices for offshore fishing. Spinning reels are easier to use and are suitable for beginners and casual anglers, while conventional reels offer more control and power, making them ideal for experienced anglers targeting larger fish.

Tackle selection also plays a crucial role in offshore fishing. Depending on the species you're targeting, you'll need a variety of lures, hooks, and weights. Research the specific fish you want to catch and consult with local experts or experienced anglers to determine the best tackle options for your target species.

Refer to our article on OFFSHORE LURE RIGGING for more specifics on equipment.

bull dolphin fishing

Essential offshore fishing knots AND RIGS

Properly tying knots and rigs is essential in offshore fishing to ensure that your tackle is secure and won't fail when it counts the most. There are several knots and rigs that are commonly used in offshore fishing, and mastering them will greatly enhance your fishing success.

Two knots that I use most often in my own fishing are the FG knot and the uni-knot.  Additionally, I use the double uni-knot especially if the lines being joined are of similar diameter.  Both of these knots have worked well for me, but there are also a lot other good knots out there if there is one you already prefer.

FG Knot:   The purpose of this knot is to join two lines together.  It can be used to join a main braided line to a monofilament top-shot.  It can be used to join lines of dissimilar diameter.

Don't be intimated by instructions.  It is not that hard to tie after you practice it a few times.

Double Uni Knot:   The uni knot is a very versatile knot.  I use it in a lot of different situations. 

If I am joining two lines together and they are similar in diameter, I will use this knot instead of the FG knot because I think it is easier to tie.  This can be used to tie monofilament to flourocarbon.

A single uni knot can be used to tie leader to hooks.

Ballyhoo Trolling Rig:   Ballyhoo are by far the most commonly used natural bait in offshore trolling.

The most common rigging technique for ballyhoo is pin-rigging.  With a little practice and patience, anglers can use pin-rigging to achieve very good results.  A second alternative is to purchase pre-rigged ballyhoo.

TrollTrue offer  a third alternative to optimize ballyhoo rigging.  It's a fast and easy way to rig ballyhoo.


Locating the best fishing spots in the open water is crucial for offshore fishing success. While it may seem like finding fish in vast oceanic expanses is challenging, there are several techniques and tools that can help you pinpoint the best fishing locations.

There are three primary techniques I use for locating fish offshore.  One of the most effective ways to find offshore fishing spots is to use available technology to find areas that will likely congregate both bait and game fish.  Primarily this involves the use of available satellite imagery to identify conditions that will be most favorable.

Another technique for finding offshore fishing spots is by paying attention to birds. Seabirds, such as seagulls and pelicans, are often an indicator of baitfish activity. Where there are baitfish, there are likely larger predatory fish nearby.  Keep an eye out for diving birds and follow their movements to locate potential fishing areas.

The last technique I mention here is to invest in a quality chart plotter and most importantly learn how to use it!   Invest the time to learn the most important features of your particular chart plotter and optimize it for your boat.  

Refer to our article on HOW TO FIND FISH OFFSHORE for a more detailed discussion.


Once you've hooked a trophy fish, the battle is far from over.  Some common mistakes can end up contributing to "the big one that got away".  Reeling in these powerful fish requires skill, technique, and a little patience.   Here are some tips to help you put him in the fish box:

  • Keep the boat moving forward.  There are a lot of reasons for this.  First it helps the angler keep pressure on the fish and not allow slack in the line.  

    Secondly, fish tend to travel in schools and where there is one, there is often more.  Keeping the boat moving forward helps improve the chances for multiple hook-ups.

    Lastly, it helps to keep lines to not get tangled as they are cleared.

    After the initial excitement and preparation, the boat can be stopped as needed.

  • Be patient.  Time is on your side.  I assure you the fish is getting more tired than you are.  

  • Slow and steady wins the race-  Maintain a steady and consistent pressure on the fish to tire it out gradually.

  • Keep your rod tip up-  Use your rod to absorb the fish's powerful runs and prevent undue pressure on the line.

  • Keep the line tight-  As the fight continues, the hook can enlarge the hole in the fish's jaw.  Slack in the line offers an opportunity for the hook to fall out of the hole.  

  • Drag is your friend- Use the reel's drag system to your advantage.  Adjust your drag before you head out fishing based on your target species.  Ensure the strength of your main line and leader is matched to the drag.  A good rule of thumb is the line lb test is 4 x of the drag. 

    The recommended set-up is a braided main line and a monofilament top shot.  With this set-up, you are going to have a lot of line available to you.  Don't be afraid to take advantage of this. 

    With this preparation, use the drag to gradually wear down the fish.  Remember that as the fish takes line, the diameter of the spool is decreasing.  This effectively is increasing the drag. 

  • Follow the fish- First off, please don't view this recommendation as contrary to what I've said previously.  All of those things are still applicable, but occasionally you are going to tie into a bigger fish than you anticipated.   Following the fish with the boat effectively adds to the time that the fish is fighting the drag.  

    Large charter boats do this by "backing down" on a fish.  For most recreational anglers, a more effective strategy is to move the angler to the front of the boat and follow the fish while still keeping the line tight.

Incorporating some of these techniques into your offshore fishing will make you more successful.  You can read more for additional information.