Wreck Fishing

Here we will explain the basics of wreck fishing

What is wreck fishing? Wreck fishing is when you fish over sunken wrecks. The wrecks can be anything from boats to submarines that lay at depths from 70 to 300 feet on the seas bottom. The wrecks can be from the first / second world war or general lost at see boats. There size varies from 20 feet to over 250 feet long

Wrecks can be anything from just a mile offshore to 35/40 miles offshore, which can mean that it will take several hours steaming to get to the chosen wrecks

There are two ways of fishing wreck – ever by drifting over the wreck with the tide or at anchor. The style depends on the tides and depth that the wreck is at. The skipper will always let you now what type he will be fishing on booking of the boat

How do charter boat skippers know were these wrecks are? Well it can be a case of the skipper literally spends many years of trial and error to find them. Or there are lots of books that will list likely wrecking marks

Skippers also use the latest electronics to help them. If you ever look in side a boats cabin you will see an array of fish finders and GPS navigation aid

What type of fish will I catch?

The idea of ​​wreck fishing is to go after the lager fish that hold up on the wrecks. Fish are drawn to wrecks because they offer a reef / rocky out crop like environments

This means that fish can hold up in the wrecks as they offer shelter from the tides and a source of food

Fish that are generally target when wreck fishing are


Fish sizes vary but you can catch fish from just a few pounds in weight and up to over 100lb (conger)

Wreck fishing tackle

Quick tip – get proper wrecking booms of about 10 – 15 inches long as they keep the flowing trace away from your mainline

Pirks – These are lead made lures with a treble hook at the bottom of the pirk. You can use them in conjunction with muppets

Pirks – are worked by jigging them (lifting the rod up and down)

Shads – Fish shaped lures that are worked by reeling in

Worms – Worm shaped lures that are worked by reeling in

Grubs – Often over looked but can be kill lures and are worked by reeling in

Quick tips

Vary the speed that you that you retrieve your lures and remember that the speed of the tide also effects the action of the lure

On the drop down keep you finger on you spool so that you control the speed of the decent. If you do not you will only end up with a birds nest (tangle)

When you are working your lures count how many turns up you get your fish. This will save time if they are being taken say 40 turns up as you can quickly go to that depth

Have a good supply of rigs made up as if you loose your rig on a wreck it can be quickly replaced ready for the next drift

Rods You will need a stand up boat rod such as a Penn Ugly stick with rods being 20lb test curve as begin the lighter work through to 50lb for the big conger and ling


The reels you will need to be using are multipliers. The reason for this is because they can handle the weight of bringing up fish from such depth. Also they carry a lot more line

Line There are two choices what type of line to use

Monofilament line This is the standard fishing line, which as the benefits of being able to stretch a little bit. As for your line strength this can vary from 20 to 50lb and more so if in doubt just ask your skipper for advice but as a guideline 25lb will handle most wrecking situations.

The down side to monofilament line is that of the diameter of the line which will get caught in the tidal flow causing the line to bow and will result is you having to use a heaver lead weight

If you are new to wrecking monofilament line is the best to go for

Braid fishing line

This is a very low diameter fishing line which gives you a much great contact with what is going on. Because of it lower diameter you will be able to use less weight to fish, which is a great bounce when pulling fish from depths of a hundred feet or so

WARNING – Never use your hands to hold your line if it gets stuck on a wreck a you could loose your fingers. Let out plenty of line then rape your line round a piece of wood etc and then pull your line free. Skippers will always help you and have the correct piece of kit to get you free, if in doubt ask for help from the skipper


Lures are made from plastics and are design for their action in the water. Coming an a Variety of colors and even luminous (glow in low light conditions0

As the majority of fish you will be targeting when wreck fishing are predatory fish (fish that hunt and eat other fish) the most come form of fishing are with lures

The most common three are shads / grubs / pirks and worms

All of these are fished on a the rig below with the flowing trace of anything from 6 to 15 to 20 foot long (remember the skipper will help on best lengths).

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