As Boating's Ultimate Angler, I've been able to fish in many different parts of the world for many different kinds of fish. Often these trips are guided by charter captains who have their own tricks and tips. Some are weird, run counter to common sense, and are even downright disgusting. But since I've seen them work, I thought you'd like to hear about them.
- ANCHORS AWAY An Alaskan captain who guided me to halibut and cod soaked down his entire anchor line with fish oil. "Even if a fish is half a mile away, he'll smell me," he said.
- SECRET BAITS A Virginia captain I once went striper fishing with used to pick the bunker gizzards out of his chum bucket. When he had three or four, he'd string them on a hook and lower away to get finicky stripers to eat. A Florida captain I know swears by lizard fish when live baiting for tarpon, snook, cero mackerel, and other southern inshore gamefish.
- COLOR CODED Several captains I've met paint the blades of their props yellow and black, believing that the colors will interest offshore gamefish.
- SMELL MASTERS To counteract negative scents-those of human sweat, fuel, or tobacco, for example-one captain I know insists that his mate wear leather gloves filled with chum for 10 minutes before rigging baits or touching lures.
- GOOD VIBRATIONS One captain, who shall go nameless for obvious reasons, insists that his best offshore trolling lure is his wife's running, battery-operated vibrator. He attaches the hook and leader with a strip of duct tape.