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Party Time! Strategies For Dealing With Summer Fishing Crowds

summer fishing

Summer Fishing

For the last couple months, I’ve spent a lot of time telling you that it was a good time to get out.

The math that I go through in my head when deciding where/when to fish goes something like this…

Fishing Opportunity – Crowd Factor

Actual Cost + Opportunity Cost

I don’t actually plug-in numbers, but it’s a way for me to sort out what makes the most sense. So for example, WSB are really biting (awesome fishing opportunity), it might make sense to take a vacation day to fish midweek (opportunity cost of doing my paid job), knowing that there will be less of a crowd out there, both in terms of actual people on the boat and boat pressure in the fishing zone.

Earlier in the season, the fishing opportunity might not have been as good, but when you factor in the other variables, the numbers worked for some people. Obviously, it’s not a cut and dried number that spits out of a computer and anything above X means you have to go fishing.  It’s subjective. Maybe you don’t have vacation days and if you get caught taking a “sick” day, you’ll lose your job. Opportunity cost is way too high to go fishing midweek. Settle for the weekend, and make the best of the available opportunities.

We also spent a lot of time talking about how the fishing opportunity on the big bluefin (low % fishing opportunity vs. high potential reward), didn’t justify the cost of going for a lot of people.

After this week though, a week where we saw everything from ridiculous inshore bass fishing, abundant yellowtail, local yellowfin tuna and cow bluefin tuna getting caught, it’s safe to say we are officially in primetime, heavy crowds, summer fishing.

This being the case, here are my top tips for dealing with the crowds.

Go Midweek

You’ve been sitting on those vacation days waiting for the right time to use them.  Now is the time.  Crowds are always less midweek, so it’s the best option if you are able to swing it.  That’s my buddy Father Tom Davis (top) with the big haul this Monday on the Aloha Spirit.

Work The Re-ride

One of my favorite tactics… Summer PM rides on a half day are a popular option this time of year.  Lots of people don’t have the time to fish all day (or more likely, they can’t get up in time to fish the morning run).  The bass right now are in that orange face, spawning mode, so the bass bite is really good.  Typically, the best of it will happen in the afternoon, but that is always going to be the more crowded ride on a two-a-day halfday boat.

summer fishing
Spawning bass at Dana Wharf Sportfishing

Usually, there isn’t a reason that you have to be in the stern, but when a boat anchors off the kelp and the current is running away from the boat into that kelp, the best fishing is going to be at the back of the boat.  Riding the morning run, gives you an opportunity to set yourself up back there and the re-ride cost is usually just over half the price for the morning run.

Please remember that most boats don’t have stationary spots at the rail.  I personally hate when they do.  Talk to your fellow anglers, do your shuffle, over/under etc. and be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

Hide On The Bow

Above being said, a lot of times a captain will try to anchor up so a whole side of a boat can fish and not just the stern.  If everyone is rushing for the stern, lots of the time you can head up to the bow to find some open space.  If you’re a jig fisherman, this is where you want to be anyway.  Also, usually the talent level is going to be higher on the bow, so you’ll spend less time getting tangled and maximize actual fishing time.

Spend The Money

summer fishing
Cody Reynolds with a popper bluefin with Always An Adventure charters

Limited load trips, multi-day trips, 6 pack boats etc. offer a way to reduce the number of anglers on the boat.  Given where we are in the season, if you are going to spend the money, this is a way to go that changes the variables in the formula to make it a more enjoyable trip.  Also, smaller boats can be a better option for certain kinds of fishing…the big bluefin tuna and white seabass come to mind.

We’ve been waiting all year for this time of year, don’t let the volume of people out there deter you from getting out there too.  Hopefully, this information helps you deal with the crowd variable in the fishing equation.

Good luck if you get out there.