Hey ladies do you love to fish? Or would you like to learn but you don’t know how to start? Maybe your friends don’t fish, you are new to the community or never tried fishing on a sportboat. Or you want to join your boyfriend or husband on the water but your not sure what to expect. If the idea of fishing on a boat full of strangers that are mostly men is intimidating to you then join the club. We have all been there. It can be like going to the movies or a bar by yourself -awkward!
This is a simple guide to help you learn some of the Do’s & Dont’s of Sportboat fishing from myself and other accomplishments lady anglers. I’ve been sportboat fishing for 5 years. Previous to that my fishing experience was limited to freshwater and saltwater fishing from small boats with family or friends. Quite different when compared to the large sportfishing boats out of San Diego.
My first trip on a sportfishing boat was on the Malihini out of H&M Landing. This boat was massive in comparison to what I was used to fishing on. It had a spacious galley with a chef, dining booths and bathrooms, unlike the coffee can that I was used to going in. I was excited but at the same time intimidated and scared. This boat was full of men with lots of rods & tackle and me with my one rod. I started to feel lost..all kinds of stuff was running through my head. Would I catch a fish? Would I know what to do? How would the men receive me being the only lady on the boat? Thank God for my fiancé who had some clue as to what to do, but it was still an unknown to me. As the boat set off I realized that just being out on the water was all I needed to help ease my fears. It was so beautiful and calming. On the way to the fishing grounds the crew gave a safety and fishing seminar to explain what types of fishing methods were working, explaining about following your line, proper baiting and basic reel operation. As we neared the bite zone the captain said throw bait! and all I remember after that was getting squeezed shoulder to shoulder between other anglers as they were getting bit all around me yelling happily and saying over! under! while scrambling along the rail bumping into me and others trying to let them pass. Combat fishing! I didn’t know what to do, and was frustrated wondering what had I got myself into. I learned later that this how you communicate with your fellow Anglers to avoid tangles and successfully land your fish.
Rule #1 Communicate with your fellow Anglers and follow your line. Your odds of getting a bite and landing your fish depend on it. Don’t panic. Everyone is working together, and the deckhands are there to assist if needed.
I let my frustration get the best of me and it hindered my ability to get bit. I got skunked and it was lesson learned. I was determined to catch a fish but I needed a new strategy, so on my next trip I spoke up like all the other Anglers did on the rail on my previous trip. I then decided that getting to know my fellow Anglers would benefit me – especially the ones that are hooking up & look like they know what they are doing. We are all a team at the rail.
Rule #2 Get to know your fellow anglers. They are experienced and willing to help and share what they know as well as the crew on the boat.
I realized that I was also not asking enough questions so Rule #3 -Ask questions and Listen. You can never ask too many questions and learn the terminology of the boat: starboard, port, bow, etc. A great question to ask is what side of the boat should you fish on when the boat stops?- typically you want the wind in your face. Asking and learning equals success so learn and ask as much as you can.
Rule#4 Be polite to the Captains and crew as they want you to catch a fish this is their livelihood and they are very knowledgeable. Say please and thank you. If the bait well is empty and you need a bait say please, then thank you. This goes a long way with the crew. They work hard and deserve your respect. Last but not least,
Rule #5 Stay Positive. This will improve your success like that old Sesame Street Burt and Ernie episode with the two of them in a boat Burt was grouchy and in a bad mood as always and Ernie was relaxed positive and happy so when it came to catching fish all Ernie had to do was say “Here Fishy Fishy Fishy” and he caught fish. On the other hand Burt’s grouchy additude resulted in no fish! So be the Ernie not the Bert. Have a good time with a great additude. Relax it’s not as intimidating as it may seem. I enjoy all my fishing trips on sportboats now and I get excited and look forward to getting aboard, meeting new fellow anglers as well as old friends, swapping stories and just relaxing and fishing. Remember it’s fishing and catching is just the icing on the cake! The following pages are some well known excellent lady anglers and some pearls of wisdom from them
I have been fishing for over 35 years and have loved every moment. It doesn’t matter if I fish on the beach, on a lake or on a boat out on the ocean. I fish for what it gives me joy, peace and the excitement of challenge. My best advise has and always will be is to share the pure love of the sport, so don’t allow or be intimidated by anyone or anything, but when I am I just remind myself to have fun, learn and share what I can. In the end I find I’ve gained some friends and learned that my love for this sport gives me so much more than I had imagined and I get to take home some fish!
The first time I stepped on the boat I had no idea what I was doing when it came to deep sea fishing. There was many seasoned anglers and deckhands that are always willing to help with their knowledge and answer every question I had . That made me feel very comfortable. The time went by so quickly because of endless conversation between us all I couldn’t believe how much I learned the first day! And still to this day I’m always learning something every time I go out.. who would have known that my first feelings of being shy on the boat would have turned out to be quiet the opposite.. I love fishing and go out as much as I can. It has turned into my passion.
As a lady angler be confident in the skills you have and things you know but if you are unsure JUST ASK FOR HELP! Don’t let your insecurities stop you from having a good time. Everyone is nervous the first time they go on a fishing trip. That trip may be on a new boat or fishing for a new species or going by themselves. As one of my favorite captains told me “You have to get your mind right to get your line tight” This applies in so many ways. If you get frustrated take a moment to reset, if you seem not to be getting bit then ask what is working, don’t doubt yourself and have fun!!
My advice: Do your homework and figure out what fish you will be targeting. Learn how to tie your own fishing knots and listen to the Captain and crew if you are fishing on a charter boat. The Captain and crew are on the water everyday, they are in the know, listen to them.
Always stay humble. Just remember every time you go out it’s a new learning experience. And most importantly have fun!
Some additional tips to get you started on your fishing adventure are below.
#1 Planning your fishing Trip: Booking your trip there are several types of trips available depending on how long you would like to fish…1/2 day, 3/4 day *(May require a passport), Overnight, 1.5 and Long-range.
#2 Learn your knots. YouTube is you best friend when learning new knots. The deckhands can help you with tying your knots as well but when it get busy you can feel confident that you can do it with these 2 easy knots plus men are impressed when a lady can tie her own hooks and leaders. *The Palomar Knot: One of the strongest knots & quick to tie to a hook or jig *The Royal Polaris other wise known as the “RP” Knot it’s my go to for tying Spectra which is braided line to leader. *A Leader Consists if either Monofilament or Fluorocarbon (a less visible leader when the bite is sensitive)
#3 Call the Landing the night before to confirm your trip. They sometimes get canceled due to weather.
#4 The night before eat a light meal if your not sure if you get sea sick there is nothing is worse then feeling sick on a boat. There are various over the counter and prescription medications you can buy so check with your pharmacist or doctor to see what will help for you. I bring ginger chews for passengers that might get a little queasy. It helps to calm the stomach.
#5 Dress appropriately. Wearing layers is great so you can remove layers if the weather warms up. Buy a pair of rubber boots or shoes so your feet won’t get wet when the deckhands wash down the decks during your trip. The crews are constantly cleaning the boat to make it safe and comfortable for you. Bring a hat, glasses, pliers, sunscreen, ID/passport, tackle rod & reels, * if you don’t have your own gear the Landing will assist you with the proper rod & reel to rent along with hooks and weight. Remember to bring cash. The boats don’t take credit cards and you will need cash for your galley & fish cleaning bill and lastly please remember to tip your crew. They work hard long hours to make your fishing trip a pleasant and fun experience.
I hope this advice convinces you to give sportfishing a try. It’s fun, exciting and you just might catch a big one!