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Finding Fish Offshore (2 of 12)

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Video Transcript:

If you think its daunting fishing close to shore in shallow water, imagine what it’s like when you are miles from land. In shallow water, you have structure, you have bars, you have points, you have rocks, and you have weed beds. Offshore you have none of these things so it’s a whole different ball game. Luckily there are things that tip you off to the presence of game fish offshore to help narrow it down. Of course a knowledgeable captain is critical as they always know where fish are expected to make an appearance, but if you are in your own boat you can still narrow the odds.

I asked my friend captain Mike Warecke to explain rips and why they hold fish. Mike, we have a rip out here, so why are fish here, how does a rip form, and where do you look around a rip? Right now we are fishing in about 53 feet of water. Behind us we have a rip and the rocks come up about 3-4 feet. The water is coming in and rushing up over the rocks, creating a rip. We get rough water right through here and these fish are just sitting up on the downside of that as all of the sand eels come up over that bar, these fish are setting up in the little bit deeper water hitting the sand eels as they're on the surface.

Rips tell you if food rich shallow water is present, which creates a place where squid, shrimp, and especially baitfish get trapped where game fish can corral them and pick them off. So look for fish feeding anywhere along the rip or just try casting there because it’s a high percentage spot in otherwise open water.

Birds are also a tip off to feeding fish. When game fish push baitfish up against the surface in open water, birds quickly spot them and pick off wounded bait fish and those swimming just under the surface. Watch for birds that suddenly wheel and change direction. When they begin diving to the water, you know game fish are not far away. In general, the bigger the bird, the bigger the bait fish. So if only turns are working the bait fish, the prey are probably small. If Gulls join the party, you can suspect that bigger bait fish or squid are being eaten.

Weed lines are also places that harbor baitfish and game fish far from shore. Dolphin, or Mahi Mahi, are famous for their proximity to weed lines, and my friend Greg Vincent of H20 Bahamas explains why.

We caught/hooked this dolphin, which is a nice size Bull that Tom Rosenbauer is fighting now, in a patch of Sargassum Weed. One of the beauties of the Sargassum weed is the fact that it collects a lot of baitfish. In this case, here is a little tiny crab, so the smaller baitfish will eat the tiny crabs and in turn the dolphin will come in and eat the smaller bait fish.

Get this in, it’s time for a beer.