Fish Hunting &
At Sea Equipment & Accessories

By: Skip Hellen

A properly equipped fisherman increases his chances of catching quality fish by having the correct equipment. A good fish finder and GPS plotter are essential electronic equipment for the advanced big fish hunter. In addition to the proper electronic equipment the below list of the equipment will help catch the big ones.


Depth Sounder / Fish Finder
A good fish finder or depth sounder is perhaps the most important piece of electronic equipment when navigating as sea as well as an advanced big fish hunter. Today there are a wide rang of great fish finders / depth sounders on the market. I like the color screen models because color gives better definition and makes it easier to distinguish fish from other things in the water column.

GPS Plotter
GPS chart plotter is an invaluable tool for advanced big fish hunters. It is critical to have comprehensive understanding of the bottom structure of the fishing area to understand where the fish will be to be consistently successful. I started using a portable, color, GPS plotter several years ago and have found it to be an outstanding tool when trying to locate fish.

Navigation Charts
Navigational Charts are less used now with more GPS machines on the market. However Charts show the big picture above and below the water. As a sea captain I was trained to use charts, plot courses, and take notes while at sea so anyone could take over and navigate safely at any time during the trip if anything happened to the captain. Charts show the shore line and bottom depth so it is easier to see what kind of general habitat is below. This information is critical when attempting to find fish.

Fishing Reference Books
All areas have reference fishing guide books with specific information which may help you find more fish. I have several reference books which I find extremely helpful in identifying productive fishing areas.

A good pair of binoculars with internal compass will assist you in finding action by monitoring birds and water surface activities. Feeding fish will force bait to the surface which attracts bird attention and activity which can be seen from a distance with a good pair of binoculars.

Foul Weather Gear
The sea can get nasty without warning and the appropriate foul weather ware can make life in bad conditions a lot easier. There are a number of different foul weather garment grades from $150 up to over $500.

I use a digital camera but any good camera with a flash should do a great job of capturing those special moments while fishing for the big ones. Even the plastic through away cameras are good at sea.

Sea Sick Pills
The sea can get nasty without warning and sea sick pills can save some folks a lot of weather related grief in the right circumstances. Always keep some on board just in case.

Fish Care Process and Accessories
Scaling Tool
Fish scaling should be the first thing you should do when caring for your catch and the sooner you prepare you catch the better. Scaling will help remove the skin armor and much of the slime that covers the fish.

De-Sliming Brush
De-sliming your fish should be the second step in caring for your catch and is another very effective way to preserve fish freshness. Any soft flat scrubbing brush should do the job, I use a plastic brush I got at the supper market and it works fine. The trick is to remove all the slime from the fish as soon as possible. After you scale the fish you brush the entire fish from head to tail. This process will require that you brush then rinse a few times until all the slime is gone. It is better to do this before you gut and gill the fish because the fish is more firm when it is in the round. The enzymes present in a fishes skin and scales serves as a decomposition accelerator. Your catch will stay fresher, longer if you scale and de-slime your fish as quickly as possible.

Sharp Knives
Next you may want to filet or stake your fish. If so, a variety of sharp knives will make your fish dressing duties more efficient and productive. Remember it is very important to gut you fish as soon as possible, gut chemicals may contaminate the meat if left in the fish to long. The quicker you clean your fish the better the quality and flavor of the meat.

Ice Chest & Ice
Last but not least is cooling facilities. Adequate ice chest and ice is essential to properly care for a fish after they have been removed from the water. Your catch should be put on ice to preserve its freshness for as long as possible.

Commercial fish Icing method
Many commercial fishermen use a simple brine or icy salt water bath to keep their catch in tip top condition for days. The method consists of extra heavy salt water and ice blended into a slurry. It should look like a lumpy mix consisting of approximately half ice and half salt water. Immerse the entire fish into the slurry and cover. I have heard that this method keeps fish perfectly fresh for days. The only draw back to this method is the space necessary to implement it.

Fish Hangover Line
While I don't recommend it, a fish hangover line can be a good way to keep a fish hydrated when it's not convenient to clean the fish immediately. There are a number of drawbacks to the practice of leaving your catch suspended in the water. One is it may get taken by a marine predator while it is in the water. Another is it may attract sharks. And perhaps the most important the quality of the fish will degrade and not stay as fresh if it remains in the water for an extended period of time.

Please remember! You owe it to yourself and the fish you hunt to use only the most appropriate equipment for the game you are hunting. You should make constant adjustments to maximize your success and minimize lost and mutilated fish. You must make sure that the fewest fish possible die in vain as a result of mistakes.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!
Skip Hellen