Saltwater fishing is not for the faint of heart. From the huge fish to the big open water, everything performs on a larger scale. Reeling in “the big one” can be a challenge, but with the right expertise and advice from some of Prince Edward Island’s premier fishermen, you might
just have the time of your life!
When you decide it’s finally time try saltwater fishing, there are a few things to know. Being prepared is half the battle, the other half is when you’re reeling in “the big one”!
- Be prepared for rough waters when you’re out saltwater fishing. Being out on the ocean can mean much more turbulence and rocking about than fishing in a river or lake. If you are prone to motion sickness, consult your doctor about your choices. Dramamine, prescription patches and ginger can all help with symptoms of motion sickness. Rough waters can also mean more water being sprayed up and around the boat. Dressing properly for this extra moisture can keep you comfortable during your time on the water.
- Understand your gear. Fishing gear isn’t exceptionally complicated – but saltwater fishing can be a bit different. Get to know your hook, lure and rod. Understand how they work in the water, and the most appealing ways work the gear – and how you’ll know you have a bite. The best way to get to know your gear is to use it, so find a pier or dock to test them on. Cast, reel and do a general check of everything so you get a feel for it. Once you’re on the boat, you will feel more comfortable casting off with a rod you are familiar with. You can also practice putting on new hooks and lures. Knots aren’t always easy so taking time prior to going out to practice knotting the fishing line, which can be different than those used for smaller fish in lakes and rivers, will ensure you are ready for snags or if you lose a hook in the water.
- Whether you are in the Gulf of Mexico or off the East Coast of Canada, the biggest challenge is going to be finding the fish. Here’s where consulting an expert can come in handy. When you go to buy or rent fishing gear, ask the employees for any insider tips on where to fish. They likely have some inclination about where people are catching different types of fish and can provide insights into the best places to drop anchor and sit a while. Patience can be a challenge in saltwater fishing as well. There is a lot of ocean for these fish to swim in, meaning they may not be near your boat, no matter how lucky other people may have been in that particular area. Some anglers choose to set a time limit – no bites within an hour means they move on, others are more persistent and will stay in one or two places all day. If you do decide to move, look for rocky structures, reefs, shipwrecks and other irregular underwater topography that fish tend to congregate near.
- Understand how to safely reel a fish in. Fish caught on a line can be fatally injured. If you plan on taking the fish home to eat or mount, a dead fish is just fine. But, if you would like to practice the catch and release method, it’s important to keep in mind a few key things:
- Make the fight as short as possible. Do your best to reel the fish in without spending a lot of time letting the line out. Sometimes a long fight helps to tire the fish for easier reeling, but if you are looking to release it, this will just lead to a more injured and exhausted fish.
- To avoid injuring the fish, use a circle hook or crush the barb on a J-hook. Circle hooks are less dangerous to the fish because they are not easily swallowed and end up hooked generally in the corner of the fishes mouth meaning a lower mortality rate for those released after being caught with a circle hook.
- Do not keep a fish out of the water longer than you can hold your breath. Fish need to be in water to breathe, keeping them out of the water too long may leave them too weak to survive when released.
- Use wet hands or gloves when you handle the fish. The slime that covers a fish protects it from infection. This slime however is multi-purpose, it also evens out the scales of the fish to ensure it can swim easily through the water with reduced drag. Either way, maintaining a layer of slime does a lot to protect the fish, so by handing them with wet hands or gloves there is a smaller chance of removing this valuable layer.
- When taking a picture or showing off your prized catch, never dangle a fish by its jaw. Instead, hold the fish horizontal to the ground and support it at both ends to ensure it is not injured.
Saltwater fishing offers new experiences to many anglers. From choosing your new fishing gear to knowing the types of fish you can catch, fishing in the ocean is always exciting. By reading up on the nuances of salt water fishing, you can get a better idea of the challenges that may arise
and how to handle them.
Feeling overwhelmed? Scott Bruce Tuna Charters offers charter fishing trips from Prince Edward Island. We provide private charters with just your group and our experienced crew members. Whether you are looking to reel in a big bluefin tuna or a deep sea fish, we provide the gear, tackle and knowledge necessary to land the big one. For more information about our tours, click here.