How to Fish in the Northeast Atlantic Canyons

How to Fish in the Northeast Atlantic Canyons

As seasons change, so too does the weather and the temperature of your local waters. In regions where the water is typically too cold to support gulf fish, it comes as a nice surprise that in a specific time of the year, the water is warm enough that these fish come in legions. Around the northeast Atlantic canyons, fishing for these exotic species of fish is possible and popular during the right time of year.

Though the presence of these fish becomes common, that doesn’t mean catching them is easy. With large game fish such as tuna, mahi-mahi, and yellowfish, you’ll need to come to these waters properly prepared with the right tools and information. In this article, we offer you some tips and tricks as to finding the best waters to fish in, the right tactics to use, and the best tools to bring along. Fishing the northeast Atlantic canyons doesn’t have to be impossible!

Why Fish in the Northeast Atlantic Canyons?

For anglers in the north, it can get quite tiresome catching the same fish year after year. If you’re fishing for sport, there’s not too much sport to be had in the north. However, once the waters around the offshore canyons begin to warm up in the canyon seasons, the bigger fish come out to play. The northeast Atlantic canyons boast some of the largest game fish typically found in the southern gulfs at the same time every year.

When the water is right, an angler fishing these waters can expect to encounter some rather tropical fish. The bait fish are brought into the canyons by upwellings caused by converging currents which attract many larger game fish to these areas. Mahi-mahi, tuna, wahoo, and yellowfish are all common finds in these canyons as the temperature turns. If you’re looking for some local fishing with exotic finds, the northeast Atlantic Canyons are the best places to start.

Ample success and the ability to test your tactics is another enticing draw factor for many anglers. With the vast amount of fish available, many fishers find themselves practicing their different techniques and methods to draw in the big game. You’re going to have to be creative to separate yourself from the rest of the anglers and make the most out of your time. Just because there’s plenty of fish in the sea, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to catch one.

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When is the Best Time to Fish in the Northeast Atlantic Canyons?

As the northern hemisphere begins to heat up in the summer months, the waters will transition from their normal cold state to a more bearable and attractive temperature. This occurs because warm waters from the Gulf Stream begin to make their way north and enter into and mix with the waters surrounding the canyons. This presence of warmer water is what draws all of the above mentioned fish to these locations and makes them so bountiful.

The best time to prepare your trip would be from mid-June through July. This is when the waters are at their perfect temperature and most of the game fish from southern areas have made their way up. In recent years, the warm water has even begun to spread outward and closer to shore making this type of seasonal fishing more accessible to smaller boats. The bigger fish still tend to locate around the canyon edges, so bigger boats will boast bigger fish.

When planning your fishing expedition, be prepared to have to compete with numerous other anglers. This is peak tourist season for New England and other northeast port cities so you won’t be the only ones out there on that water. Congestion has packed these waters recently, but if you’re willing to hold out and stay on your boat for an all-nighter, you’ll have some impressive catches come morning.

How to Find the Best Waters in the Canyon

Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to find the best waters for fishing around the canyon as they tend to change rapidly and could be suitable one day and too cold the next. In order to get the best readings on the water temperature, you’ll need some specialized equipment that can tell you how cool or hot the waters you’re in are getting. These machines will give you an accurate idea as to how close you are to the canyons with the warmer edges. Follow the increasing temperatures to find the best waters.

SST charts are another fantastic way to measure the temperature break over the northeast Atlantic canyons. These charts are essentially weather forecasts that focus on underwater temperatures. By studying these charts prior to departure, you’ll have an accurate idea of where the transitioning point in temperature is and where to go for the best fishing opportunities. Finding the best waters for fishing the canyons is all about having the right equipment and preparing your temperature route.

For boats and anglers that don’t have the proper equipment, you can still study the SST charts prior to departure and memorize where they predict might be the best locations for temperature drops. You’re looking for the temperature breaks over the canyons as these are where life will be found. The longer the temperature break is present, the more life will be found. Underwater structures such as lobster crates can also act as a great destination for wildlife.

What Fishing Methods Should You Use in the Canyon?

One of the most recommended fishing methods is trolling or drifting. This is the method of casting out your line and letting it drift with the boat throughout the waters to get a feel for what’s available in the area you’re fishing in. When drifting, you’re creating a much wider range of fishing opportunities than a normal cast and wait. Drifting or trolling enables you to draw in many more interested customers as it’s a moving lure that grabs their attention, especially if it’s live bait.

Another benefit of these methods is it enables you to better find your destination. Many anglers begin trolling before they reach their final destination as a way of testing the waters and finding out how close they are to the best northeast Atlantic canyon fishing. The more interest they get on the line, the closer they are to the best temperature breaks. With this method, not only are you setting yourself up to find the best fishing spot, you’re also enabling yourself to catch a good number of fish along the way.

Prepare Well Before Departure

When preparing for your trip to the northeast Atlantic canyons, you’ll want to be sure that everything is packed and most situations are prepared for. Keep in mind that you’ll be facing some large and strong species of fish. The mahi-mahi and wahoo aren’t something that your basic river fishing line can handle. We recommend that you pack a line that’s rated — at minimum — for 30 lbs. However, you might be facing stronger fish and should bring a tougher line. 80-pound lines are great lines for fishing the northeast Atlantic canyons.

It could also prove useful to pack in the smaller sized lines for catching bait fish. The haul in these parts tend to be small to medium-sized and call for smaller lines. You won’t want to use an 80-pound line on a bait fish, but you do need that live bait to bring in some of the larger game located around the temperature breaks of the northeast Atlantic canyons. Preparing yourself with the proper variation of tools can be necessary to finding success.

Another useful tool to come equipped with is knowledge of the surrounding regions. This includes knowing the layout of the canyons, the dispersion of the water temperature, and the placement of underwater items. If you know where the lobster traps are located, then you’ll have a decent understanding of where some life will be found. The more you read up on the locations you’re fishing at, the better your chances of success. Fishing at the northeastern Atlantic canyons is all about proper preparation.

Make the Most of Your Time

You’re traveling quite a distance to reach the destinations surrounding the canyons which can take up a good chunk of your day. If you’re fishing these waters, you’ll want your trip to have been worth it, so it’s best to be ready to pull an all-nighter. This enables you to set out early in the morning, fish throughout the day and into the night, spend the night in the canyons, and head home the next day. These canyons are anywhere from 70-130 miles offshore so traveling will take up most of your time.

Fishing the waters of the northeastern Atlantic canyons can be difficult. There are so many factors that you need to prepare for before setting out on your trip, and even once you have everything in order, there’s still no guarantee of success. The reward when you do catch something in the canyon season is well worth the effort. Seeing all of these exotic game fish coming from the southern gulf waters to the northeastern Atlantic canyons is a rare and rewarding experience in itself. 

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