Fishing From a Yacht: Secrets of Sailboat Fishing

fishing from a yacht

Aside from the luxury, comfort, and style that virtually every type of yacht can provide, one of the first questions that enter the minds of boat enthusiasts, new and old alike, is whether or not a particular vessel is generally good for fishing. Fishing from a yacht is not a novel idea, but it is a question that we encounter quite a number of times.

So, is the fun of fishing doable aboard a yacht? Take the bait and read on to find out!

Can You Fish From a Yacht?

Yes, you can absolutely fish from a yacht, whether it be sport fishing, anchored fishing, bottom fishing, spinning, jigging, trolling, bait fishing, or any other unique form of fishing. Yachts may have been designed with a premium design and quality finish, but beneath the surface of a wonderful-looking boat, you have a very capable and practical vessel for catching fish. This includes the more common, relatively lighter-weight species such as the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, all the way to huge and powerful fish species such as the bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.

We freely suggest that both beginners and experienced sailors take on fishing aboard a yacht, even just for that one-time experience. The combination of safety, comfort, style, and the patience and skill required for fishing really takes your head away from all the problems you may be experiencing in the world.

What Fish Can You Catch from a Yacht?

If you have watched (or heard of) Wicked Tuna or Deadliest Catch, then you're aware that when it comes to acquiring fish, any fish species is fair game (within reason, of course). As mentioned earlier, anything from bass to tuna is viable across the ocean or sea aboard a decent-sized yacht with a decent-quality fishing rod.

Whether for fun and casual activities or big game sport fishing, here is a quick list of the most popular fish species you can generally catch aboard a yacht:

  • Trout
  • Bass
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Pike
  • Carp
  • Panfish
  • Snook fish
  • Walleye fish
  • Perch
  • Chub fish
  • Bream
  • Mackerel

The Different Fishing Techniques That Can Be Used Aboard a Yacht

fishing reel for yacht fishing

There are several methods of fishing aboard a yacht. Although techniques or approaches largely depend on a sailor's skill level, cruising speed (or anchor status), type of lure, type of gear (hook, reel, rod), the classification or type of boat also comes into consideration. Fortunately, for yachts, a lot of different fish species can be caught in the ocean and served up for dinner for guests to eat in a fancy evening party aboard the boat.

Here is a list of fishing methods that can be done on a yacht:


A method of fish catching that involves setting a long fish line angled downward (or vertically) with a series of hooks along the line.

Hand Line

There is no rod holder required for this one. Hand line fishing is a method of fish catching that does not utilize a traditional fishing rod, but rather a simple fish line that is baited with lures or bait fish such as mackerel.


A method that is used primarily for different varieties of bass fish. This method departs from a traditional fish rod and fish line and utilizes a relatively short and heavy line to catch fish.


A popular means of fish catching that utilizes a jig, which is a type of fish lure that has a soft texture and can move in a jerking motion.


Another means that simulates bait fish movement (such as mackerel) by repeatedly dropping and raising a flat lure through a school of fish in the hopes of catching multiple fish.


Trolling is an approach that utilizes slow and steady movement from the vessel (or drifting) through depths of water in order to lay down multiple baits (such as mackerel) or fish trolling lures across the water through a certain distance. These baits or fish trolling lures will then experience drag across the water while sailing.


As opposed to droplining, trotlining relies on the horizontal alignment of smaller fish bait (such as mackerel) and lures, attracting fish near and far with several baits and lures behind one another.


Ideal for either freshwater or marine ecosystems, spinning is a way of securing smaller fish in still bodies of water that have minimal current. It allows sailors to cover large areas of water quickly.


Pitching involves a lot of skill as it requires the fisherman to toss the lure, tackle, or live bait (like mackerel) across a wide distance, eventually landing and creating a big, loud splash to entice certain fish to go for the hooks.


Involves the use of a tenkara rod (made of graphite and telescopic) to catch freshwater fish such as trout and char.

Fly Fishing

A relatively less accessible but really popular means, fly fishing involves the use of unique fish bait or tackle, namely artificial flies. The tackle or gear used in a fly fish catch involves specialized equipment that is designed specifically for this purpose.

Float Tubing

In tandem with the fly catch, the float tube catch is introduced by using floating devices or tubes in order to reach greater depths with minimal weight and attention. This is not ideal for big game fish but small to medium-sized fish are a highly probable hook and catch. Unique sea creatures such as squid and prawns may also be caught.


One of the most traditional ways of securing fish, whether big game or small, is casting. Casting simply entails the act of swinging rods back and then forward in a swift motion to reach a significant distance. This is also considered to be the official sports counterpart of actual fishing.

Bottom Fishing

There are many ways to describe this, but simply put, this way entails sending the tackle, bait, or live lure (such as mackerel) down to the bottom-most portions of the ocean. This is also a good way to catch squid.

Anchor Fishing

This way is pretty self-explanatory and can be done near the shore or off-shore, deep into saltwater or freshwater territories.

Remote Control Fishing

For those who would like to splurge a bit more and explore what technology has to offer when it comes to the fish catch while on a boat, nothing is as good as combining remote control fishing with sailing. Ditch the rod and grab onto your RC rig and get into the depth of the sea with unique lures and tackles attached to a rig that is controlled remotely. Be careful with wind conditions, however, as your investment might just end up a flop.

Drone Fishing

If you want to take things one step further with the hook, then take a look at one of the latest and greatest innovations in the field of boating. With the use of specialized drones, you can now catch fish from the comfort of your boat without having to worry about trolling or jigging techniques, or even the weight of the actual fish.

This approach is loads of fun and is a definite head-turner for both casuals and veteran boaters. Similar to the entry above, be sure to take special note of wind conditions to ensure proper drone operation.

The Different Gear and Equipment Needed to Fish on a Yacht

The secrets of sailboat fishing are not found in your boat, nor are they found in your gear or equipment. The secrets are not based on the fish you have caught in the past either.

The key to becoming a leader in fishing, whether it be trolling, jigging, near the shore, anchored, or while your vessel is drifting, is to actually have a good sense of your capabilities and align them with the capacity of your boat, your reels, the depth of the ocean, and essentially everything else. Once you realize that every little thing can contribute to how good or bad you are as a leader in this field, at the snap of a finger, you will be able to dedicate your time and efforts to actually growing as a fisherman and becoming a better person overall.

Now that we have dispensed with the philosophical depth of boating and fish life, let's rise to the surface and talk about the quality of the boat and the pieces needed, from lures, rods, knots, and reels, to the gaff, hook, and swivel mechanisms of your fish hunt repertoire.

We shall now take a look at each, broken down into different sections:

1. Gaff - Telescopic Fish Gaff with Stainless Sea Fishing Spear Hook by Sanlike

sanlike telescropic fish gaff

With its retractable mechanism and portability, the Telescopic Fish Gaff by Sanlike is a worthwhile investment. It is made of durable material and its compact size provides for great packing and storage aboard the boat.

calamus bastion braided fishing line

Modern fishing lines are deceptively tough and durable, but the Calamus Bastion Braided Line is one of the best and most cost-efficient offers in the market today. It is thin, strong, and extremely abrasion resistant which makes it a good piece for both freshwater and saltwater trips.

If you have experienced a line snap with low-quality lines, there would not be much to worry about with this product because this line is built for big game, too. Its braided design also lends to its flexibility in creating knots, from the bimini twist all the way to the perfection loop, anything is possible. As long as you know how to tie, then you could never go wrong with this item, whether getting fish while drifting (such as trolling) or going for an anchor catch.

The thin construction also allows it to be compatible with a lot of reel products, so there should be no worry when customizing or custom building your rod.

amysports high strength fishing snap swivels

Made with copper and finished with nickel, the Amysports High Strength Snap Swivel is something you should have a lot of, especially when going out on drawn-out fishing trips. As a result of the stainless steel material, expect to be able to use it in any type of water, namely saltwater and freshwater.

reels for fishing from a yacht

If you are looking for absolute value for money in a reel, the KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel is a great pick. Constructed to be lightweight and durable (due to its graphite build), this reel is going to serve you well. In terms of reel drag, this product offers the brand's patented Superior Drag System, providing stopping power up to a reported 17.5 pounds.

anmuka hooks for fishing from a yacht

It's not always about the size! Well, it is in this case, and it is also about the sharp tips, which there are plenty of when it comes to the 2,000-piece Anmuka Worm Hook Set. Pack a box or two of these on board your boat before leaving anchored status and you will be more than set to catch any shape and size of aquatic creature.

Built with high-grade carbon steel and unbelievably pinpoint-sharp tips, expect better-than-average performance in both freshwater and saltwater regions. Tie this up with all of the other recommended products (reel, swivel, line, and gaff) and you will definitely have a killer setup.

Catch and Release vs Keep and Kill

There are several practices that talk about catch and release as opposed to keep and kill (or eat). The former is a sustainable approach essentially because returning fish to their habitat ensures the maintenance of the fish population without having to skip the fun of fishing. The latter is usually acceptable for either commercial purposes or personal consumption (in other words, dinner).

Here are a few recommendations and general rules to follow:

  • If your trip is meant primarily for sports purposes, it would be better to observe catch and release.
  • If you secured a relatively young or small fish, observe catch and release.
  • If your trip is for leisure and relaxation, it would be best to go with catch and release.
  • If the area where you are sailing is known for fish that are suffering from toxins or diseases that could affect humans (such as ciguatera), it would be prudent to practice catch and release. Take note that ciguatera can still affect humans even if the fish meat is thoroughly cooked. There is also no way of identifying ciguatera through physical signs of the fish so be extra mindful.
  • If you are looking to consume the fish you catch, then feel free to keep and kill.
  • If you find a particularly large or heavy fish, then we would advise keeping and killing.
  • If you are in the fish-selling business, then keep and kill is acceptable, especially if you are having a slow day and are behind on your daily catch.
  • If you still have space to board more fish and are near the end of your trip, then feel free to keep and kill.
  • If the town or region highly supports securing certain fish when sailing in their waters, then go ahead and keep and kill whatever you catch.


Fishing from a yacht definitely has its advantages. As for disadvantages, we honestly do not see a lot. So if you have the time and the money to invest in and use a yacht, then feel free to do so!

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