Deep sea fishing, sometimes called sport or big game fishing, is a form of fishing in which people angle for large open-ocean fish species, like tuna, shark, and swordfish. This type of fishing is meant to be enjoyable, in that fighting big game fish can be a real challenge, and it also provides a source of food, depending on whether people keep or release their catch. Deep sea fishing is practiced in many regions of the world, and it is often possible to charter a boat for sport fishing if you are visiting or living in a coastal community.
The goal with deep sea fishing is to travel far enough away from land so that fishermen reach deeper parts of the ocean, giving them access to fish species which only live in the open ocean. Big game fish like the open ocean because it provides them with lots of room and lots of prey, and some fishing grounds may be teeming with such fish, especially if they have been well-managed. Often, a deep sea fishing expedition will travel beyond the sight of land to reach prime fishing grounds.
Once the boat arrives on site, a number of techniques can be used to fish. Some people like to use nets, while others prefer to spread bait in the water to attract fish, and to hook them individually. Spear fishing is also possible with some species. In all cases, fishermen have to be strong and quick on their feet because big game fish can escape in the early stages of the process. This “fight for the fish” is the enjoyable part of the experience in the eyes of many sport fishermen.
If a fish is landed, there are a number of options for disposal of the fish. Some people take the fish home to eat, often weighing and photographing it as a trophy first. Others think that the catch is the fun part, and they release the fish afterward so that it can live to fight another day. Some deep sea fishermen work with fishery monitoring projects, tagging and logging the fish that they catch before releasing them so that researchers can learn more about fish and the health of the fishery.
Going on a fishing charter can be an enjoyable experience for people who like fishing and being out on the water. Many charters provide all of the equipment people will need, although it is also possible to bring your own gear, and the crew will support the fishermen as they quest for fish. Many crews have a great deal of experience, and they can help first-timers navigate the ins and outs of deep sea fishing, although they cannot assure fishermen of a catch.
Sport fishing is usually regulated by law, as big game species take a long time to mature, and some are threatened by over fishing. Usually people can only take a certain number of fish per trip, and they may be required to log their catch with a local authority. Size limits and other restrictions, along with a specific season for sport fishing, may be used to control fish populations to ensure that the fish will continue to thrive so that other people can have fun with deep sea fishing in the future.