Any type of fishing can be fun, relaxing, and can provide a nice meal. However, sea fishing in the UK can be especially rewarding. The smell of the ocean, the cool breeze, and the beautiful views make it a very unique experience. Deep sea fishing is one variety that gives you a massive amount of water and a wide variety of fish to pursue.
However, getting started with this type of fishing can be an intimidating task. There is much more to it than buying a rod and reel and heading to the closest lake or pond. Almost everything about sea fishing in the UK is different than freshwater fishing. However, once you know the basics you can travel to any coastline you like and have some success and some fun.
Learning How to Sea Fish
Ocean fishing requires some serious knowledge. You want to acquire that knowledge from multiple sources. This means reading sea fishing books, taking sea fishing classes, and taking charter trips. You can learn a great deal in a short period of time without having to mess with trying to figure it out on your own.
Clubs are a great way to learn from other saltwater anglers without spending much money. In these clubs, everybody is focused on the same process. Many people in the clubs have decades of experience and are happy to help you learn… if you are willing to listen to a tall tale or two.
You can also visit with members online to get as much information as you can. These clubs are as social as they are focused on fishing, so people will be happy to visit with you. You might even snag a friend that is willing to take you out and show you the ropes. These clubs are typically easy to find and open to the public. They have regular meetings to get to know everyone.
Charter trips are another way to learn the process quickly. With these trips, an expert will take you out in their boat and show you everything. You learn the equipment, the best spots, the bait, the target fish, and even how to care for a boat when you get one. You can go alone or take a bunch of people with you to split the cost and share the knowledge. You are also nearly guaranteed to come back with a cooler full of fish.
Be aware that some charters are geared towards novices and some are geared towards experienced fishermen. Make sure you pick one that will help you learn.
Classes are another option to help you learn quickly. There are usually classes available in any major city near the water. They tend to fill up quickly, so sign up well in advance. Some classes will focus on saltwater shore fishing, while others will take you out onto the water. There is typically a one-time registration fee.
As is with any fishing, it is important that you fish responsibly. It is vital that you follow local fishing regulations so that we can protect the fish population. This will help ensure that our kids and grandkids can enjoy sea fishing as much as you do. This includes size regulations and local catch limits for the season. There are also specific species that are prohibited from being harvested.
Permits are required for almost every type of fishing, so make sure you purchase the right one.
It is important that you know how to properly catch and release a fish that you do not intend to keep. Be sure to handle the fish as little as possible. Fish have a mucus membrane that can be easily disrupted. In addition, the head, eyes, and gills are especially sensitive. You should have needle-nosed pliers or something similar to remove the hook properly. If the fish has swallowed the hook, cutting the line and releasing the fish gives it the best chances of survival. If able, move the fish back and forth in the water to push air into the gills. Then just let it swim away once it starts to become revived.
You might happen to catch a fish that has been tagged for observation. In this case, you want to provide the tagging party with as much information as possible. You want to record the date, location of catch, species of fish, length, weight, and if you kept the fish or released it.
Ideally, you should catch and release every fish if possible. This allows you to enjoy the sport, keeps the fish population intact, and ensures you are not violating any regulations. Just be sure to follow the tips above. In addition, you want to keep the fish in the water as much as possible. You can also use barbless hooks and specialized nets to help protect the fish. If you need to take a picture, keep the fish in the water until the last second.
It should go without saying, but it is vital that no trash end up in the water. Water pollution is a huge issue, and you do not want to be contributing to it.
Saltwater Fishing Boats
Saltwater fishing from the shore can be extremely limiting. Most of the fish are farther out than you can cast from the shore. Having access to a boat can make a huge difference with saltwater fishing. However, you must choose the right one for your needs.
Center console boats have a basic design, but get the job done. They have no structure to protect you from the wind and rain, but you can fish off of any side of the boat. There is walking space around the entire perimeter. Most are designed for the fisherman, so they typically have bait and fish wells along with rod holders built in. They come in aluminum and fiberglass constructions. These boats can hold between four and eight passengers and range from 15 feet long to 42 feet long. The biggest engines can do a solid 70 mph on open water.
A deck boat focuses more on multiple purposes. They are designed with the angler in mind but are also very comfortable for a family outing. They are also much flashier than a center console boat. These boats are designed to load up a bunch of passengers with just a few fishing at any given time. The open design is more focused on seating.
All-purpose boats are really ideal for doing everything. This includes saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, watersports, and just taking the family out on the water for a good time. It is the design most often chosen for any type of fishing. They have some additional design features that may them safer and more comfortable on choppy water.
Rods and Reels
When it comes to buying a fishing rod, your choice is greatly about personal preference. If you want to go after several different species, you will likely want several different rods. The action of the rod is vital. For fish over 20 pounds you will want a heavy action rod.
A medium-heavy rod is great for trolling and going after steelheads. It is ideal for fish between 10 and 20 pounds. Medium action rods are great for a variety of fish between 5 and 10 pounds. You can use these for trolling small lures. Light and ultralight rods are designed for the smallest lures and fish. If you have friends that do some sea fishing, try out their rods and see what you think.
When selecting a reel, you should first look at the gear ratio. This tells you how many times you must turn the handle before the spool makes one turn. A higher gear ratio makes it easy to reel in fast. However, a lower gear ratio provides more power. This is important when fishing on the bottom.
The winding mechanism is also important. It will affect the feel of your cast as well as the type of bait you can use. A baitcasting reel is best for heavier baits. A spinning reel is best for lighter baits. I have both and use both for different purposes. An ideal gear ratio is about 5:1:1. However, try them out for yourself and see what you like best.
There are several additional items that can make sea fishing easier for you. One is a GPS unit. This will allow you to pinpoint a specific location on the open water and then return to it whenever you want. It will also help you navigate when you are out looking for a new spot.
Fish finders are another good idea. These will show you when fish are below your boat. You do want to make sure your electronics are specifically designed for saltwater fishing. A dual frequency transducer works similarly to a fish finder.
Proper fishing line is vital for a good saltwater fishing trip. Your first decision is the max pound test on the line. That should be selected based on the fish you are targeting. You should use the thinnest line that you can without risking a big fish breaking your line. This will ensure that it is easier to cast and harder for the fish to see.
Monofilament lines are the most popular and can be used on just about every type of fish. Braided line is stronger, but more visible to fish. Fluorocarbon lines are completely invisible in the water. They are stronger than monofilament but also more expensive.