Wreck Fishing

The ocean floor is littered with shipwrecks of all shapes and sizes. Tales have been told throughout history of seamen losing their ships to the sea and it was extremely common. From wars, sabotage, storms, accidents and even deliberately sunk vessels; there are hordes of wrecks along every coastline of the world. As time progresses, they become coated with algae which attracts marine life that feed on it. They in turn promise food for larger life forms and the food chain surrounding the wreck grows. The longer the wreck has been lying on the ocean’s bottom, the more established the underwater habitat is.

Why is wreck fishing so popular?

There are many fish lurking in wrecks and some of them are truly gigantic. They live in an underwater labyrinth of corridors, decks, windows, doors, bunks and more. Not only are anglers likely to catch an astonishing number of fish varieties; they are guaranteed a powerful fight in the process. All these fish will try to dart home once hooked (even once clear of the wreck) and it is no easy feat preventing them from returning there and wrapping or breaking our lines in the process.

How does wreck fishing work?

This specialized technique is used for pulling large fish out of places where they can find cover. We usually use medium to heavy tackle in the 50lb to 100lb test range and we always use braided line. It is stronger, able to withstand heavy friction and it does not stretch the way monofilament does. Live bait is dropped to the bottom; on the side of the ship where the current is moving upwards. As the current pulls the bait closer to the wreck, we reel our line off the bottom so that it does not snag in the wreck. Massive groupers, sharks, amberjacks and others will take your bait just before it passes over the wreck; and when they bite you need to hang on tight. When this happens, we reel in as fast as we can while moving the boat forward. This helps us to pull the fish away from the wreck so that it does not have an opportunity to dive for cover and cut us off.

What makes wreck fishing so effective?

The ocean floor is barren for the most part; with rocks, seamounts, canyons and other structures offering protection of some sort. Wrecks lying in this environment are the perfect attraction for any fish seeking shelter, and therefore they are havens for predators too. There are always fish that you can catch near wrecks. There are hordes of species of all shapes and sizes. Many of them are exceptionally powerful and anglers use these techniques to catch large numbers of them.

What baits do you use when wreck fishing?

We use small live baits because it works the best. A live bait struggling near a wreck acts as a beacon for any predators nearby. Cut baits are also successful and some anglers use lure/bait combinations.

When is wreck fishing most commonly used?

Anywhere where structure provides cover for fish; and ultimately obstructions for our lines to get tangled in and cut off. Using brute force to prevent fish returning home is the only way to get them boat side. Obviously this is the case when fishing wrecks, but the technique can be used when fishing around rock piles and natural or artificial reefs as well.


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