When most people think of fishing, they picture someone waking up just before dawn in order to hit the water just as the sun crests over the horizon. It’s a beautiful, awe-inspiring sight if you haven’t seen it for yourself–seeing the day slowly break through the darkness of early morning hours while on your boat. However, many people don’t realize, there is some great fishing to do before dawn.
Sure, night fishing has its detractors. But why do many look down on hitting the water after dark?
- Sleeping Patterns: No, we’re not talking about disturbing your sleeping pattern (though there’s that too). You have to know which species of fish you’re looking for to ensure that it’s not bedtime when you hit the water at nighttime. Some fish are especially active at dusk and dawn as well, so try to schedule out your trip accordingly.
- Navigational No-Nos: Even the best captain can’t see in the dark. Though adequate lighting, GPS systems and more can help, there is no beating being able to see what’s in front of you with the naked eye.
So, sure, there are some issues to consider before breaking out the Red Bull for a late-night fishing session. But that does not mean it’s not worth a try, especially when you have two equally intriguing benefits of night fishing.
- Beat the Heat: Though the hottest months of the year are in the rearview, much of the South will surely still be hitting upper 80s for weeks to come. Once the oppressive sun has set, you beat the heat, avoid sunburns and have a more comfortable time on the water.
- Less Competition and Traffic: Though others prefer boating at night, there are often far more boaters on the water during the daytime hours. Less activity means quieter waters, meaning fewer chances of scaring off your next catch.
Yes, there are pros and cons to night fishing, but if you’re like our clients and friends in Texas and Florida, you’ll know all too well it’s worth a shot to beat the heat alone: yes, even in early autumn. So, if you were on the fence about night fishing, maybe give it a try and see for yourself. Just be sure to take it slow and know the habits of the fish you’re trying to reel in. Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you on the water!
When heading out to your favorite spot to get in some high-quality fishing, many of us like to take a handy checklist. From making sure you pack the right lures and bait to checking the weather and latest fishing reports, this list can grow to something near novel length. We’re sorry, but we have to add to that list. But we promise — it’s worth it.
Fishing Tips to Add to Your Checklist
- See the Signs: Most any major waterway will have signs that caution boaters and fishers of regulations or dangers. Heed signs that mark off no-fishing zones, private property and otherwise protected areas. Some common off-limits areas include protected seagrass beds and oyster reefs.
- Safety First: Your checklist needs to include the likes of a first aid kit, waterproof baggies or protectors for your cell phone, life vests fitted to each person onboard, flashlights, sunscreen and bug spray if you’re in an area prone to mosquitos.
- Stay Hydrated on the Water: Though you’re surrounded by the stuff, don’t forget to bring plenty of water or sports drinks in order to stay hydrated. It’s especially easy in the summer months to not realize just how dehydrated you’re getting in the blazing sun. Also, coffee, soda and alcohol can act as diuretics, so avoid them when trying to rehydrate.
- Watch the Weather: Summer brings with it some predictably unpredictable weather patterns, namely, the dreaded afternoon thunderstorms. Though we’d all like to kick back for a full day of fishing and fun, it’s important to keep tabs on worsening weather. The last thing you want is to be caught with your rods up when the lightning starts.
- Read the Regulations: The most fun part of fishing? The regulations, of course. OK, we know rules and regulations can be a bit of a downer when you’re just trying to hit the water and have some fun. However, understanding catch-and-release rules, bag and length standards and other regulations (for both freshwater and saltwater fishing) can help keep you out of trouble with local authorities.
By looking out for posted signs, bringing safety equipment, staying hydrated, watching for approaching storms and reading your local fishing regulations, you can have a trouble-free time on the water. So grab your bait, pack a lunch and complete your checklist — you have a summer full of fishing to do. We’ll see you on the water.
Already well into the first quarter of 2018, you may be revving up for a spring and summer season full of beach trips and boating fun. As an industry and culture, we love to think about what’s around the bend for boating. Gazing into the near future, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) posted a video on notable 2018 recreational boating trends we may see in the coming months.
2018 Recreational Boating Trends to Watch
- Versatility: Though there are certainly boats that work better for specific activities, there’s a prediction that more boaters will seek out multi-use vessels. This makes sense when considering many boaters aren’t on the water professionally or for a highly specific reason. Many may flock to vessels that are more Jacks of all trades.
- Family Focus: This year is predicted to be big for families, and why not? Boating can be big fun for everyone, whether cruising on a lake or deep sea fishing. As long as the captain follows safe boating laws and practices, boating is a relatively safe way to bond in the great outdoors.
- Fishing: According to the NMMA video, 70% of boats are used for fishing. Additionally, the sales of vessels used for saltwater fishing are predicted to increase by 4% and freshwater to increase by 2%. Whether for relaxation or some friendly competition, there’s a reason fishing is a major driver of boat sales, and will be for the foreseeable future.
- Boat Services: You don’t have to own a boat to enjoy time on the water. The NMMA predicts that services including boat rentals, chartering and fractional use boating, just to name a few.
NMMA president, Thom Dammrich has some solid predictions for 2018 recreational boating trends, many of which ring true to what we’ve seen firsthand in recent years. With an increased interest in versatility, family boating, fishing and alternative means of getting onto the water, this year is sure to be yet another exciting time to be in our industry and share this common passion of ours. Only time will tell if these predictions prove correct, but regardless, we’re happy to get going on another season of sunshine and fun on our favorite waterways.
The great outdoors is…well–great. The trouble is, human exposure to these often delicate ecosystems can lead to damage, pollution and even full-stop extinctions if not carefully monitored. Your favorite waterway to boat or fish in is no different. For that reason, it is important to know the easy ways you can enjoy eco-friendly boating without sacrificing the fun of getting out on the water with friends and family.
Five Easy Ways to Implement Eco-Friendly Boating Techniques
- See the Signs: Many waterways, especially near vulnerable flora and fauna (manatees, seagrass, coral, etc.), will post “no wake” signs that warn boaters to slow their vessels. High-speed boats can cause wakes that damage shorelines and make it more difficult to maneuver around seagrasses and slow-moving wildlife. Just as you should in a car, follow posted speed limits and heed all warning signs.
- Don’t Spill: Fuel and oil are both awful for the environment. Though you may be extra careful when filling your oil and fuel tanks on the water, you may not be able to avoid a spill. Add to that, the risk of your engine or tanks leaking these pollutants and you can see why it is so important to report any incidences of oil or gas leaks to the Environmental Protection Agency as soon as possible. If you come across a vessel leaking or dumping pollutants, it is your responsibility to report it as well.
- Maintenance and Mess: Always ensure that your engine is up to snuff before hitting the water. It is especially important to check all hoses, which can become brittle after months of exposure to the sun and water.
- Trash Troubles: Do your part to ensure that no one on your boat is throwing garbage overboard. It is tempting to simply toss that soda can or potato chip bag into the open water, but this has an immediate and terrible impact on the entire ecosystem, no matter how little the litter.
- Overfishing: If you’re new to fishing, you may not realize that there are strict regulations on both saltwater and freshwater fishing to avoid overfishing or the capture of protected species. Follow these rules to stay on the right side of the law and preserve the delicate ecosystem.
If you love boating, you must also love and respect Mother Nature. Do your part every time you hit the water by following waterway speed limits and warnings, reporting oil and fuel spills, maintaining your engine and never littering. As boating and fishing enthusiasts, we are also the guardians of the waters we love spending our time on.
Smart, eco-friendly boating has come a long way since the “save the manatees” days (a campaign that actually accomplished just that). With more awareness, there is no excuse for leaving our waterways worse for future generations of boaters, fishers and anglers.
Though the movie, Jaws, has terrified generations of beachgoers, divers and boaters, as it turns out, a great white holds nothing on an invasive species taking over the waters North Carolina down to parts of South America and the Gulf of Mexico. Its name is “lionfish” and, though not king of the jungle, this invasive species has the potential to have a quite destructive reign over our waters.
Luckily, people like us like boating, and many boaters also enjoy fishing and angling across our coastlines. Yes, we are saying that you can make a difference in the world by catching your dinner tonight.
But let’s get some facts on the lionfish first.
What You Need to Know Before Catching and Cooking Lionfish
- Are Lionfish Dangerous? Lionfish have 13 sharp spines that are venomous and should be avoided when catching these creatures. These spines must be removed before cooking to avoid injury. When cleaning a lionfish, it is recommended that your use a pair of puncture-proof gloves to make the process both easier and safer.
- Can I Eat Lionfish? Not only is lionfish edible, it is now served in many restaurants in an effort to drive down the numbers of the invasive species. Heat neutralizes the lionfish’s venomous spines (though it’s still recommended to just remove them beforehand) and the meat of the fish is apparently mild and easy to prepare as everything from filets to fish tacos.
- How Can I Catch Lionfish? Unfortunately, lionfish are rarely caught on lines. Instead, you’ll have to resort to spearfishing or using a net. Note that the lionfish can be found year round and have an unlimited daily bag limit, so fish away. If you don’t care to catch the fish yourself, contact the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to report sightings.
- How Do I Treat a Lionfish Sting? If stung, do not panic. The venom of a lionfish, though painful, is rarely deadly.
- Immediately get back on your boat and inspect the wound.
- If necessary, remove any remnant of the lionfish’s spine and disinfect the area.
- Run the injury under hot but non-scalding water, then let it soak for approximately 30 minutes.
- Contact the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
Again, this injury has very low chances of being life threatening, but it is better for have a professional monitor your reaction to the toxin than go without treatment.
With a high reproduction rate and no natural predators in our waters, we have to step up and start eating the lionfish before it eats the the native fish of our waters.
We know, we know. It’s tough–yet another reason to get out on your boat and spend the day on the water, just to go home to a fresh fish dinner. However, lionfish are our burden; and we are hungry for more.