Black Magic Brand Ambassador Kate Rogers is an experienced saltwater angler, who regularly spends a day on the water with her trusty deckhand (and 14 year old Rottweiler), Bear. In this article, she explains what precautions she takes, and what safety measures she puts in place when she is on the water by herself.
I fish by myself a lot, whether it’s inshore or offshore, sometimes it’s just me and my dog, Bear.
The first thing I always do is check the weather across 3 or 4 weather and marine forecasting models. If they all conflict, I would usually make the decision not to go out, especially if I was planning on game fishing. Even though I have a big capable boat, sometimes it’s just not sensible.
I try to make a plan usually based on the weather, about where I would head. I like to travel back with the wind direction, it’s much more comfortable.
I try to mitigate things that could possibly go wrong while out there, but things do happen. Keeping your motor regularly serviced is important, as is checking the water separating filter yourself. Having water in the fuel your motor equals a tow in usually.
What safety gear do you need to have with you
Safety gear should be front and foremost before heading out fishing, especially if you’re heading out alone. Making sure your life jackets are in service and checking your epirb is in date should be your top priority.
I also take plenty of fresh water and I pack enough food to last a week.
There’s a specific list of things you must have when fishing offshore here, they include flares, life jackets, V sheet etc.
Regardless of how well you can swim, or how big your boat is – wear a life jacket!
How to handle big catches
When I head out gamefishing solo, I always hope to land a dream fish, but I never really plan on how I’m going to accomplish it. I suppose I just think that I’ll manage it one way or another when the time comes.
My boat is equipped with a davit pulley system for when I’m commercially diving, and a dive door. So, if anything, it should be relatively easy to manage a large fish.
When I hooked my first striped marlin, it was both my first ever marlin and I was just with Bear! I was full of adrenaline, and it was quite windy. I had to coordinate driving the boat and fighting the fish. It was very difficult! – https://www.blackmagictackle.com/articles/solo84kgmarlin/?portfolioCats=2217
At some points the fish swam around the front of the boat, and I had to unclip the harness and make sure the line didn’t get caught on the anchor or Bimini. I was sure I was going to lose it. It was absolute chaos but incredible at the same time.
Eventually the fish tired, the boat was drifting with the sea and wind and it came up perfectly by the dive door. I just grabbed the bill and pulled it in!
Tips for fishing solo
I’m only relatively new to game fishing, and I have landed some nice fish in that time, but not without losing a few as well.
At the time I started, I didn’t know about doubles and wind on leaders. I used to just tie a snap swivel onto my mainline, and the lure would just clip onto that. I lost a couple of nice tuna due to not being set up properly, so take the time to learn the right way to do things before you head out on the water.
You learn so much through experience and experience is invaluable, but you can also increase your chances of landing that dream fish by being properly prepared. So think through what you will need before you go. Be as prepared as you possibly can.
I’ve also found that running minimal baits or lures in the water helps you to clear the deck much faster. And having your Black Magic Equalizer® gimbal and harness properly adjusted and ready is also handy.