When it comes to fishing, there is not much that compares to the thrill of fishing offshore. From pelagics to bottom dwellers and everything in between you just never know what you may encounter when you set sail on the high seas. This, along with many other factors is what draws thousands of anglers every year to the vast fishing grounds that is the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico, unlike the angry Atlantic Ocean is an area that provides a much calmer and more protected area to fish in. Although you run out much longer to get into deeper water, the entire area holds great fish. From the bays and inlets that you launch from out several miles, you can find all the popular inshore as well as offshore species. Launching out of southwest Florida such as Naples will get you out to ideal fishing grounds faster. Species such as king mackerel, cobia, snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, and much, much more can be targeted the entire way. But knowing what to look for and how to present your bait or lure comes from much practice and patience.
One popular way to find fish when just leaving the docks is to troll. Trolling bait or hard lures is a great way to entice a monster kingfish, mahi-mahi or even sailfish to take the bait. I was also always taught to stop at any towers or even channel markers and look for cobia near the surface. A live pinfish or bucktail jig works well in these situations. And of course, finding structure is key when it comes to finding grouper and snapper. A bottom machine paired with a GPS will allow you to either happen across these ideal bottoms or get you to some public GPS coordinates that may hold fish. Once there, I like to anchor up-current of your location and chum the waters. Drop live bait to the bottom on a circle hook and wait for the strike. Careful, chum may also bring sharks into the waters and can take over quickly forcing you to have to move to another location.
A great way to learn the ropes of offshore fishing out in the Gulf of Mexico is to hire a guide. A local guide has put in the hours and work figuring what areas produce better and how to fish those areas. Not only that, but they also have the best boat and gear for the job. Going offshore isn’t an inexpensive endeavor so it’s important that you make the most out of every trip. Hiring a guide is much more economical and productive allowing you to relax and enjoy your day.