Tools of the Trade

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As fishing pressure takes its toll, anglers have learnt to adapt to evolving technology and equipment to increase our success rate with catches. ASFN Ambassador Wesley Peens look at the different equipment needed to make that deep-sea fishing trip one to remember.
As our fishing stocks become depleted, fishing becomes more competitive, and sport anglers are constantly looking for new ways to increase their catch success. There are a couple of factors that contribute to this, research being the main aspect.
As we learn more about the incredible diversity of the ocean, and how it works, humans have mastered the skill of combining modern technology with sea life. And as a result, humans come up with new, state-of-the-art gadgets to try and beat fish at their own game.

Tools of the Trade

However, just as we think we’ve outsmarted the fish, they quickly adapt to us, and cleverly figure out ways to avoid our reels. This cycle will continue throughout generations to come. Research, marine biology, tag and release, recreational and professional angler’s experience and feedback all contribute to the development of new and more effective equipment.

I believe that you need a number of essentials that should never leave your fishing bag, hatch or vehicle, no matter how many death threats you receive from your wife! This list of tools have really helped my catch rate and ensured an enjoyable and stress-free fishing experience.



Polarized Sunglasses – Without doubt it is of the UTMOST importance to carry a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses with you at all times while fishing offshore. The three lenses that I would recommend are the Blue Lens, great for tropical waters. It truly delivers excellent contrast and eliminates glare. The Amber lens brightens up low-light conditions, and the Green Mirror is recommended for shallow waters, and great for sight fishing.


Global Positioning System – A reliable and accurate GPS plays a vital role in the success of your fishing or your experience on the water. GPS play a specific role when it comes to all variations of sea-going expeditions. The model of GPS that you should select to use would vary and will depend on the expedition at hand and the coverage that that selected GPS would supply. Always match your equipment with the tasks required.

GPS can help with the following:

Marking New Fishing Spots – While hunting the ocean, anglers can come across new marks or spots that hold fish, or where many fish are caught — and with a GPS you can mark this position to ensure that you keep fishing the exact spot where the fish are holding.

Finding Given Spots – If selected fishing destinations are shared between anglers, they are most likely to be given or shared via co-ordinates, these co-ordinates can be found on any latitude and longitude map, or by using a Global Positioning System.

Man Overboard – In the unfortunate event of a crewmember or your equipment ending up in the water, one can save the position where the accident took place. The ocean is vast with acres of water that all looks the same when you don’t have landmarks to use, and this will aid in your search.

Tracking –Tracking will record the exact route that the boat has travelled, if in fact you need to travel back on the same line. This is effectively used to going over the same fishing marks, following the same drifts or if the weather gets bad and your visual route is hampered.

Fishfinder – The fishfinder or sonar system is used by many people, but only a select few use the highly sophisticated systems. A sonar system is a little more complicated than plug and play. There are many systems on the market that have a particular job to do with specific features for specific structure. Once again, access what you will be using your sonar for and then speak to a professional to ensure that you have the right application for the job 
at hand.

Elastic Bands – They are very simple, exceptionally cheap in rand value but extremely valuable in fishing terms, the “I-know-it’s-here-somewhere” elastic band. From downriggers to outriggers, elastic bands can help catch fish in many ways off the boat, so don’t forget them!

The 4-Stroke Motor – Now don’t get me wrong, this may not help you catch fish directly, but trust me, I have found that by using the 4-Stroke technology on outboards, I have really increased my performance on the water and evidently, increased my catch rate. The reasons are as follows:

More fishing hours and greater distances travelled on the water due to less fuel used

Less noise on the water while trawling

Money saved on the fuel bill, gives us extra to spend on additional fishing tackle.

Bait, lures, fishing rods and reels obviously catch fish but if your tools aren’t used for the correct applications, you’ll be spending 90% of your time fishing in water that doesn’t hold fish! The above information will help you maintain a positive increase in your catch rate.

Remember, fish for the future, conserve our fisheries, and most of all remember to make sure you have a valid fishing licence for every crew member fishing off your boat. Keep it legal, keep it safe and keep it fun!

Happy fishing!

Wesley Peens (ASFN Ambassador)


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