Sea Fishing Questions

Mercury Marine 50hp outboard motor circa 1980s
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In a boat that’s not fitted with an echo sounder, is fishing a matter of luck?

You may go out with a skipper who can place you over a known wreck, reef or area of pinnacles. But over an uncertain bottom, there are ‘surface indications’ which can help even the inexperienced. Even at 15-20 fathoms, rocks on the seabed create a surface disturbance: moor uptide of the swirl. Gulls following a shoal of mackerel for the pickings move with the current, whereas stationary bass lurking behind a sandbank attract hovering gulls.

What boat gear is essential to offshore fishing?

A good compass is vital: take a fix on a promontory or prominent building ashore as soon as you settle to fish — in case visibility suddenly worsens. Don’t skimp on anchor rope or you may be dragged out to a depth where you can’t hit bottom. In a small boat, ensure that your outboard motor is well maintained and secured with a safety line. Carry a baler and, lastly, flares for use in an emergency.

In fairly shallow water, is it worth trolling from a moving boat?

Wherever sandeel, sprat and mackerel are about, there’s a good excuse to troll an artificial rubber eel or limber up a dead one, mount a squid, try a dead herring or a metal lure. Bright, flashing lures, are best for shallow mackerel, pollack and bass fishing. Trolls for reef bass run 100 yards behind the boat from long rods in special mountings. The springy rod and forward movement of the boat really sink the hook on a take.

Don’t ever try to steer and fish at the same time in a motor-driven boat.

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