The night before an offshore fishing trip is usually set on a tight itinerary, but before you attempt to catch some Zs prior to a canyon excursion you should look up the latest offshore waters sea surface temperatures. Here are a few important factors you need to know about water temperature and being successful offshore.

yellowfin tuna
The author displays the results of considering offshore SST (sea surface temperature) when fishing at the canyons.

Delta Force - The factor that should determine your fishing grounds for the day is the delta, or change, of the water teperatures. The greater the temperature change, the more activity you’re likely to see out there. For instance, on the temp charts one canyon may be showing you consistent 74-degree water, but you notice another canyon that has drops from 73 all the way to 70 degrees. This intense break in water temperature is likely to pay out big dividends for you and your crew if you can pick up on it before leaving the marina, and then work along it as you fish.

Everyone’s Here - When you finally make it out to the temperature breaks, in addition to eyeballing your temp gauge be sure to take note of what you see. Flying fish and ocean sunfish may be hanging out, birds could be working in the distance, all the while sargassum weeds start building up along the delta – these things let you know that you’ve found a lively temperature contrast.

Cool Runnings - While trolling on top of a temperature break, you may feel inclined to stick to the warmer side of the water. This is your best bet most of the time, but not all the time, and it never hurts to experiment. Switch to the frigid side to check on where the fish are feeding, especially during slow spells.

- By Parker Martin

Editor's note: there are a number of SST services out there, so which one should you choose? Remember that now, we have a weather widget on which includes a low-res, broad view of ocean and Bay temps. You can use it to click through to FishTrack, which offers hi-res, close-up views of SST world-wide.