The saying "10% of fisherman catch 90% of the fish" is so true. One way to become part of that 10 per cent is to change your mindset. Treat every fish as though it's your fish of a lifetime.
This starts with the basics of tackle maintenance through to everything you do, both in preparation and during your day fishing offshore. If you convince yourself that the next hook-up is going to be that fish you've always dreamed of catching, then you'll take the time and care to make sure everything is perfect – every single day you head offshore.
Catch & Release is a big part of recreational fishing today. Although you may have the best intentions when handling and releasing fish, some of your actions could have catastrophic – although unseen – effects on your fish's chances for survival. However, a few small changes can help to ensure a successful release.
The deck of some boats – especially alloy ones without carpeting – get so hot on a summer day that you cannot stand on it with bare feet. So if your fish hits the deck, you're literally cooking its skin – likely doing irreparable damage to the fish you're intending to release. A wet towel on the deck solves this problem, and you'll see the fish behave differently.
I look for areas where the current and wind are pushing up against bottom structures – I find these great spots to fish for billfish.
When fishing a new area, I study topographical charts to figure out where the seamounts and structures are, then I try to talk with local fishermen about prevailing currents and wind directions. You always want to fish the up-current side of a peak because that's where fish feed – not just billfish, all fish!
Read the rules. Know the rules. Know what counts. Know what doesn't.
Even on a private boat, get your team running at peak efficiency by allocating specific jobs to each crew member. Or spend the money to employ good professional hands.