Making Offshore Structure Your “Go To” Fishing Spot
Fishing over offshore structure is many times misunderstood. When we think of underwater structures we picture large objects like sunken vessels and other materials deposited in the Ocean, but that’s not always the case. Offshore structure is more often than not the bumps, humps and ledges formed by underwater living coral. These sub-surface bumps can be as little as 1-2 feet in height, and rise up to much larger – as large as a boat or even a house!
These structures change height in various locations and can be found on your depth finder, provided you know what to look for. Many times these underwater changes are gradual rather than the sudden uprising you may think, so it’s important to pay close attention to your depth finder and watch for those changes while annotating them on your GPS for later use. Note: your depth finder must be set to work at the speed that your boat is traveling. Without this adjustment, the bottom finder cannot recognize the depth and show the structures as you pass over. There are thousands of underwater structure locations along the Carolina coast, and more found every day. Don’t be surprised if you find another one each time you go fishing.
Bottom Structure adds another value: the congregation of bait-fish due to the protective quality of the structure and its ledges. Bait fish rarely locate around sandy bottoms, and instead look for structure as a means of hiding from predators. These bait pods commonly move along the coral bottom feeding on smaller fish.
Position yourself over the structure, and look around for the signs starting with the birds: as true with most saltwater fishing, the birds are looking for the same fish that the larger predators are interested in. This means that birds working and diving is indicative that those predators have driven the bait-fish to the surface. The raining effect of the bait-fish is a great sign that big fish are nearby. In that case it’s time to start trolling with the bigger fish near the surface.
If trolling is not you thing, then locate the columns of bait-fish above the structure and go to work jigging. A cloud of bait-fish on the scope can only mean a predator is not far away. Your wounded and bigger bait will be enticing to the big fish and a target he can’t resist.
To make things easier, check out “Maps Unique” for their list of models that mark underwater structure. They have thousands of marked locations that you can add to with your experience.