At this time of year, offshore deep-water fishing can be fun and full of action. If you want to try your hand at it on a good, calm day, here are some of my tactics.
First, use the tackle and techniques you use for kingfishing. My favorite setup is to deploy two baits short on a flat line, two baits out long and one extra long down the middle, with two baits deep on the downrigger. I use a double-hook rig and troll at idle speed. Start fishing in about 120-130 feet and troll out to 150-160 feet.
If you want to cover more ground, use a single- or double-hooked ballyhoo. Run the same pattern as you would with live bait, but increase your trolling speed to about 6 knots. Once you locate the fish, try feeding them a live bait for more action.
Troll near offshore wrecks, springs, large ledges and weed lines or around an anchored shrimp boat. If you keep a sharp eye on your bottom machine, you could find a new spot for bottom fish, so keep your marking jug within reach. Also, watch the sky for frigate birds or small terns, as they can lead you to surface feeding fish. On the right day you can expect to catch dolphin, blackfin tuna, barracuda, bonito, wahoo, amberjack, sailfish and kingfish.
_ Chris Turner charters the Shikari out of Pass-a-Grille.