How to Successfully Fish Around Buoys

How to Successfully Fish Around Buoys

A buoy is a type of floating device that can serve many purposes and can be allowed to drift with the currents of the ocean or anchored. For fishing, it can be used to mark where lobster traps are, fishing nets, or other reasons. When there is a buoy where you want to fish, you have to learn how to fish around them successfully. You need to be especially careful that you do not get wrapped around the anchor chain that is holding the buoy to the ocean floor. When fishing around a buoy, to be successful, you need to pay attention to your surroundings and fish safely.

Why Buoys are Important in Fishing

No matter what type of fish anglers are fishing for, the dominant topic is generally structure, which means where they like to fish. Some want to fish around the oyster reefs inshore while offshore anglers are fond of wrecks and rigs. The most productive type of fishing structure is buoys. They can be found inshore or offshore and hold a variety of species of fish. Many times they are overlooked in favor of other bigger fish-holding structures. If an angler takes the time to cast around the buoy, they will often be rewarded with some great catches.

In the summer, the closed buoys can be very productive when the clean water moves in. At this time, depending on where you are fishing and what fish are found there, you may find mackerel or kingfish hanging around buoys. You may also see a ling swimming around them, even if the buoy is right offshore.

Why Fish Hang Around Buoys

One of the reasons that fish like to hang around a buoy is that a buoy is a type of structure in a large body of water. When fish find themselves in a large body of water, especially if it is really hot, they will look for anything that will provide some shade. Since fish are underwater, the buoy will provide them some shade so a buoy will draw in baitfish and predator fish. It will provide structure and shade from the bottom to the surface because it is anchored down and the fish will have some permanent shade. Even if you do not see any fish on the surface or just below the surface does not mean that there are not many fish around. If there is baitfish around, stop and drop a line to see what you might catch.

fishing around a buoy

You can use a bucktail jig and drop it straight down by itself or use some type of baitfish. If you want to make sure that you catch something, use a Storm Wildeye Shad Swimbaits to catch a variety of fish that are down around the buoy. Just make sure that you get whatever bait you are using down deep enough so the fish can find it.

How to Successfully Fish Around Buoys

The stuff that is keeping the buoy anchored can also pose a problem for fishermen. To keep the buoy stationary, they have to use some type of anchor chain, which can become a problem for fishermen. When they are fighting a large fish around the buoy, they have to be very careful not to get the fish wrapped around the chain. Most when they have hooked the big one, they are so focused on getting the fish up and into the boat around the buoy they forget about the chain that is anchoring the buoy down. Fish are known to wrap themselves around the chain to prevent being hauled on board so when you hook a big fish, you need to move the boat around so you can keep them off the chain. 

Colors and Numbers of Buoys

The numbers and colors of buoys all have the same meaning no matter what type of buoy they appear on.

  • Green colors and lights and odd numbers — this marks the edge of the channel on your left (port) side as you head upstream or enter from the open sea. As you head upstream or return from the open sea, the numbers will consecutively increase
  • Red colors and lights and even numbers — these make the side of the channel on your right (starboard) as you head upstream or return from the open sea. The numbers will also increase consecutively.
  • Green and red colors and/or lights — these will be placed at the junction of two channels to indicate the primary, or preferred, channel when it splits. When it is red on top, then the primary channel is to the left and when it is green on top the primary channel is on the right. They are also referred to as junction buoys.


One thing to remember about buoys is that they are in that particular location because of their purpose. They are meant for navigational purposes, placed over obstructions, and along channels; all are places that fish like to be for shade, protection from larger predator fish, and to feed so fishing around buoys can be a great place to fish. To be successful fishing around a buoy, when you have hooked a fish, move the boat away so the fish will not wrap itself around the chain. You do not want to have the fish get away. When you learn about the different buoys and where they are located, you can find out just what type of fish might be swimming around so you will know whether to fish there or not.

Follow the simple rule of not letting your fish wrap itself around the anchor chain and you will have a successful fishing experience. Some of the fish that you can catch around a buoy can include bull reds, sharks, jacks, bonito, and more. The buoy not only provides structure and shade for fish but they are also located between shallow water and deep water channels. This is an area that attracts a variety of fish no matter what the season. Next time you go fishing and see a buoy, check it out and see what you can catch.

Also, learn Why Birds Can Help You Find & Catch More Fish.

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