Big-game Fishing - Boats

Boats

Big-game fishing requires a boat of sufficient seaworthiness and range to transport the crew to the fishing grounds and back. Boats that fit these requirements may be as small as the 18 to 21-foot trailerable boats commonly used along the Australian coast, in New Zealand and on the lee coasts of the Hawaiian Islands where they are known as the "mosquito fleet". At the other extreme the 100-foot and larger vessels of the San Diego long range fleet and similar, although less refined "party boats" operating from New England, transport 25, 30 or more anglers in search of yellowfin, bluefin and bigeye tuna.

The cost of a suitable boat, electronics, tackle and the operating costs (fuels and other consumables, insurance, mooring fees and maintenance) can be very substantial. Consequently, many big-game anglers prefer to use charter services where they hire the use of a boat and equipment, and the fish-finding expertise of a captain, in preference to maintaining their own. Either way, big-game fishing can be an extremely expensive pursuit, and one in which the wealthy have tended to feature prominently.

The classic sport fisherman

Most of the features of the classic sport fisherman were gradually developed in the 1920s and 1930s as existing motor cruisers and commercial fishing vessels were adapted for fishing with outriggers, fighting chairs and other ancillaries such as bait boxes and flybridge helm stations. These boats, though crude by modern standards, scored many pioneering big game catches of huge bluefin tuna, broadbill swordfish and marlin. Through the 1930s and 1940s sportfishermen in Florida, amongst them John Rybovich and Ernest Hemingway, continued to innovate and refine, and in 1946 the Rybovich yard launched the Miss Chevy II, a 34-footer that crystallized all the innovations that had gone before into a design whose features - raised foredeck, flybridge controls and roomy cockpit - are still closely followed by today's leading sportfish builders. The need for greater range and speed as anglers sought gamefish further and further offshore resulted in the development of bigger boats powered by larger engines, but the basic layout of a dedicated big game fishing vessel has remained largely the same since the late 1940s.

Smaller sportfishing boats

The development of outboard power opened up many big game fishing grounds to smaller craft in the 18 to 25 foot range.

San Diego Long Range fleet and other partyboats

Electronics

Electronics technology developed for commercial fishermen has become increasingly used by recreational anglers. Fishfinders, also known as bottom machines or echo sounders, are now commonplace. Other electronics used to narrow down the search for fish may include radar, forward or side-scanning sonar, water temperature sensors and sea surface temperature imagery obtained from satellites.

Read more about this topic:  Big-game Fishing

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