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First time offshore

Gentlemen, I just inherited a 1988 Mako 231 from my uncle, along with all this gear. 2 Penn Senators, and 4 Penn 650 spinning outfits. I've been offshore once or twice, but looking for some info on catching bait, and trolling.

I've been fishing inshore my whole life, but I'm completely in the dark offshore. Any and all info would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time I'll continue to study the reports. Thanks!


  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,491 Captain
    It's a whole different world than inshore fishing. More exciting in my humble opinion. Like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get! (Make sure you have a current copy of the rules & fish size limit's as well as pictures of fish)
    I'd start off by getting live bait with a Sabiki, drift them on a #5 live bait hook looped through the nose, or in front of the Dorsal fin. (60 feet of water out to 200, 300? whatever you are comfortable with) Finding weeds, rips, really helps.
    If you want to troll, start-off by purchasing a pack of rigged Ballyhoo. Tie a leader to one of those Penn Senators with a Snap Swivel on the end. Hook up one of those rigged ballyhoo's with a skirt on it, or naked. Troll about 5 or 6 knots and let it out behind the boat. Try to find a weed line or floating object out in 100 feet or so... you'll pick something up for sure.
    That's just a quick start.
    I'm finding the more you do it, the more there is to know.
    But it's a lot of fun!


    Pura Vida!
  • terrapinterrapin Posts: 119 Deckhand
    You may have already checked, but sometimes safety gear gets overlooked and while flares and such may look fine and probably work just fine, don't find out that they are expired after you get stopped. (also, I sent you a pm)
  • LET'S GOLET'S GO Posts: 2,041 Captain
    You got some great advice from both Flight Risk (Bill) and terrapin you also can check to see if you can tag along with some of the members most are glad to share some of their knowledge. Best of luck!

    baf44a4e-6651-4a38-8a03-7b1c3b6bd22b_zpse5ca0565.jpg L.G. LIFE IS GOOD ON THE "LET'S GO!"
  • bigh20bigh20 Posts: 251 Deckhand
    I started offshore fishing 3 months ago after upgrading from an inshore boat and haven't looked back! We have had some great success and continue to learn something new each time out. I spent time talking with local baitshop staff and got some excellent local advice and tips from them. One thing to definitely consider if you haven't got it already, is a self-deploying rescue beacon and make sure your boat has a working VHF. Well worth the peace of mind!

    In the end, it is quite enjoyable and nothing takes the place of putting your time in on the water. Also its worth it getting a core group of buddies together who like to go out with you on a regular basis to share the fun and experience. Just like stated above, always learning.
  • Kevinwwings2Kevinwwings2 Posts: 1,279 Officer
    I would start with trying to fish with some of the guys on this forum. Who's boat you use is not important. There are several guys here myself included who have no issue bringing guys with us fishing. Some general ideas on how it seems to work best, is Show up on time or even early, be helpful, and open minded, donate towards gas and clean up. I have met and made many good friends from this forum, learned more than I could ever imagine writing down, and endless great memories. You can search through the archives here and find an endless amount of great info. Keep an eye on the fishing reports section and you can learn much about techniques as well as who does most of the catching and sharing around here. Don't hesitate to PM me if your in the Stuart area and I will gladly add you to the list of guys I try to get out fishing when I go.
  • Reel Gator 2Reel Gator 2 Posts: 139 Deckhand
    The first thing you need to fully understand is safety is not a football player position. You should immediately install a high water alarm if boat does not have one...out 10-20 miles is not the time to find out your bilge is full of H2O...a VHF is vital as well as the emergency beacons already mentioned. 2 VHFs is better than one. If batteries are under the deck as some older boats have them placed...look out because water and electric dont mix well. I have capsized my boat years ago 27 miles offshore and fortunately was able to call a Mayday to the Coast Guard plus we had 2 beacons set off....55 minutes later the Blackhawk arrived (with a tail wind helping speed things up). I had exactly 4 minutes after discovering water height in bilge...its quick....and my next boat had high water alarm before it ever went out.
  • JIMinPBJIMinPB Posts: 1,875 Captain
    An 88 Mako is a great boat if it's in good condition. That's a pre-Andrew boat, that was built back before the "investors" took over the company & changed things.

    I'm pretty sure that boat will have wood in the stringers & other key structural areas. You should have the boat looked over by someone who knows Makos, to be sure that you don't have internal rot. This is especially critical if you notice soft spots in the deck &/or notice the transom flex under load.

    As others have said, make sure that your safety gear is good to go. Back up gear is not a bad idea.

    As for the fishing, you need to decide what style of fishing you want to do. The rods that you have are good for Moderate trolling, live baiting, sight fishing & hitting the bottom. If you have a good bottom finder, then fishing over structure is a fast way to start bending a rod.

    If you want to catch bait, the two most popular ways are sabikis & cast nets. I also use strip baits on small hooks on dropper rigs. Different bait fish go for different things. You need to learn the personalities of the different types of bait fish.

    Trolling while watching the bottom finder is a great way to mark new structure while still having a chance of bending a rod in the process. Natural trolling baits usually get more attention, but artificial baits let you go faster & cover more water.

    I agree that fishing with some experienced locals is the best way to learn a lot fast.
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