Why is it that people decide to go offshore as their first or only trip of the year?
This isn’t some sort of elitist rant. It’s easy enough to spot “that guy” on the boat. I don’t harbor animosity about them being there. What I don’t understand though is this…
These trips aren’t cheap. That salesperson at the tackle store is telling his buddies about all the gear he sold you. You might’ve even taken a day or two off work. A lot of time and expense has gone into this trip. To some extent, “that guy” annoys me. They’re often the ones talking the most and listening the least to the crew. They know what they’re doing, right? Somehow though, I have empathy for this person. I was that guy when I first started fishing here (minus the big talk). It was intimidating not knowing anyone, or much about the fishing. I mostly stayed quiet, listened, and observed.
Seems simple enough, but take this weekend for example. I was fishing aboard Gentleman Sportfishing up in the 805. I kept telling a guy who was fishing the dropper, “You need more weight. See how your line is going way out behind the boat? You’re not getting to where you need to be to catch fish that way.” He didn’t listen. He spent the day getting in tangles and not catching fish. He ended up buying a yellowtail from another angler…probably so he wouldn’t have to admit to his wife he didn’t catch anything.
If you met me out there, you might be a little skeptical if a stranger was telling you what to do. I would too. Funny thing is, the crew was telling him the same thing. Still the call went unanswered.
I’ll let you in on a secret…the crew has likely been out there more recently than you.
The more fish you catch, the more money they’ll earn from fish cleaning and tips. A good count, and pictures of happy people holding fish on Facebook gets more people to come out. It’s a virtuous cycle. They are incentivized to make your day successful.
If you are here reading this article, I’ll assume you want to be a little more prepared when you go out. So to take it a step further, before you go offshore please consider doing some inshore fishing first.
“How will inshore fishing improve my offshore game?”
For one, there is a ton of offshore experience amongst local deckhands and captains. Many of them have worked long range or spent time on the boats that dock in San Diego and fish offshore in the summer. They may have gotten married, had kids and just wanted to go home every night which led them to work a local boat. They’ve probably forgotten more about offshore fishing than you’ll ever know. Randy Kramer, on the Gentleman this weekend is a good example. He did work long range when he was younger. He put on a very comprehensive seminar this weekend that unfortunately few paid attention to.
The content of his seminar, while meant to inform the inshore fishing this weekend, directly translates to offshore fishing. Now that we’re into that paddy hopping part of the season and the focus is shifting to yellowfin, yellowtail and dorado (vs. bluefin), the skills you learn on local trips will help you do better offshore. The ability to flyline a bait (see Randy’s seminar on video HERE) is a critical skill to successful offshore fishing. The things he talks about with regards to bait selection, bait handling etc. all directly translate. What he doesn’t mention, casting, is something better practiced on a local trip before you go offshore. Then after the cast…maintaining contact with the bait, staying in front of it, understanding what a bite feels like, and how to react to it when it happens, will really help you convert those offshore opportunities. Typically, you have less opportunities to catch fish offshore. Being prepared for them is critical.
Plus for me, I really enjoy a good ol’ dose of classic inshore summer fishing – the Three B’s (bass, barracuda and bonito) are fun to catch and good eating. Plus good things happen along the kelp. Yellowtail, seabass, and halibut are always in play on an inshore fishing trip. Open up your mind, listen to the crew and improve your game.
Good luck if you get out there.