What is Bottom Fishing?

Bottom fishing refers to the most common way of fishing techniques, used to catch fish that are found near the sea floor. This technique may seem like a lazy way of catching fish but it requires the utmost drifting and anchoring tactics. Large predatory fish like the Grouper, Halibut and the Red snapper are found by the reefs, buoys and the wrecks. And the best way to reel in one of them is using the bottom fishing method.

Fishing Handlines used for fishing
Fishing Handlines used for bottom fishing

Fishing Handlines from our boat partner in Abu, Dhabi
Fishing Handlines from our boat partner in Abu Dhabi

Fishing rods
Fishing rods from our boat partner in Dubai

Bottom fishing can be done from a boat and also from the land using either handlines or rods. The main aim of this technique is to take the bait to the bottom of the sea and present it in a tempting way to the fish and to lure them into the hook. In bottom fishing the line is led by a heavy lead sinker that is followed by the bait and the hook. When the fish takes the bait it will feel the resistance from the weight that is hung below and will bolt away this in turn will hook them to the hook that dangles with the bait.  The heavy sinker is used to help in casting the bait away and deep into the sea floor. The lead weight will also keep the hook and the bait stay put despite strong currents and high waves. This will give a good advantage to the angler.

Grouper:

Big Grouper
Grouper caught by fishfishme team with Captain Khalid Boat, Muscat, Oman

The grouper seldom chases it prey. It likes to ambush its prey using its ability to change hues and to stay unnoticed. This behavior of the Groupers makes them an easy prey to the sport fishermen’s bottom rigs. The most common rig used for Grouper fishing is the fish finder rig that has a sinker tied as a leader and a loop tied above the sinker. This loop will have the hook and the bait on it. This technique is the most preferred and excellent for fishing straight down under the boat. The normal bait used in a fish finder rig is cut bait, squid or other small fish. Some anglers also use live bait that is held by a long leader. This rig uses a sliding egg sinker that is heavy enough to keep the bait in place but light so that once the fish takes the bait it does not feel the weight of the sinker and encourages the fish to swim off with the bait. When the Grouper strikes the success in catching them is by not letting them get away with the bait into their structured homes. So when the Grouper takes the bait, you have to lay your rod on the rail and wind as hard as you can. This is because once the grouper gets the bait and gets in a rock or reef it is impossible to get them out of there. You can even wait on the fish to let it relax and swim out of its hiding as well.

 

Halibut:

Nice Halibut caught by Mustachemuzik
Nice Halibut caught by @Mustachemuzik

The Halibut is a flat fish that is seen towards the bottom of the sea. This fish is dark brown hued on the top and with an off-white belly. Live squid baits are used to lure in Halibuts when bottom fishing for them. You should use a good sinker to let your bait sink to the bottom and then reel in the excess line. You can leave the bait in the water for sometime and then gently sweep the rod sideways so that you catch the attention of a lurking Halibut. Once the Halibut takes the bait you shouldn’t yank the line for you will lose the fish. You can lift the fish gently and in a controlled manner so that the fish doesn’t realise it. Once you bring it to the surface do not try to lift it out straight away as it can fight back and run back to the bottom. Instead, you can call for a gaff and pull the fish onboard.

Red Snapper:

Nice RedSnapper caught by @liquidfirefishing
Nice RedSnapper caught by @liquidfirefishing

The Red Snapper is a very popular fish among the anglers for its fierce ways. Catching this fish is taken up as a challenge by many sport fishermen as the Red snappers fight hard. This powerful fish can be found over the reefs and by the shipwrecks. Bottom fishing is one of the most successful ways in which a Red snapper can be reeled in. Live baits like squids and small fish can be used. When fishing for Red Snappers make sure to use a heavy sinker that will hold on in the heavy currents. When the Red Snapper takes the bait you have to reel in fast to keep the fish from running off to cover or from cutting your line. Then, you can slowly reel in the snapper to the surface and board them on to the ship using a gaff.

More catches from around the world:  

 
 
 
 
 

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