Planning for an offshore trip isn’t like heading out for a day on the flats. It’s a long term commitment, with many variables in play as the runs can be 50 to 100 miles depending where the fish are and what port you run out of. The fare is the largest game in the oceans, with tuna, marlin and swordfish on tap. You need to cover every aspect to plan for the long haul as trips can run 24 hours at a clip.
Get Your Intel Straight – Check satellite charts to get the latest intel on water temperatures, edges, eddies, moon phase, and overall projected marine forecast for seas. Temp charts will allow you to maximize your plan of attack, knowing where to predict the water and where its moving to so as to chart out the perfect plan to start your troll or drift and where you intend to end up.
Ice Up - Always bring at least 200 to 300 pounds of ice on any canyon trip to ice down tuna and mahi. Nothing worse than going through all that trouble and bringing home mushy, warm meat or having fish sitting in water getting stale.
Proper Tackle – Bring appropriate 50 to 80 class reels and stand up rods. Retie all knots, look over all the terminal tackle, bring plenty of proper sized hooks, leader material, swivels, and have all your rigs and leaders tied up the night before so you are not messing around on boat tying rigs when the bite is on. Set your drags ahead of time and have all rods prepared to drag a ballyhoo or clip on a spreader bar or daisy chain.
Safety Gear Checklist – Make a checklist of life vests, EPIRB, Spot, Sat Phone, First Aid kit, allergy meds, aspirin, antibiotics, anything to keep any situation under control as best as you can. With any electronics, always replace batteries from the last few trips with new ones, and insure your subscriptions are up to date.
Clothing – You cannot underestimate the importance of staying dry and warm. Bring a separate bag full of spare clothing, socks are super important, as are any foul weather gear, back up shirts, pants, long sleeves, sunglasses, hat, boots. You can always take layers off but can’t put on clothes to warm up if you don’t have them.
Cover all your basic bases when heading offshore and the trip will be that much more enjoyable and productive.