The Lure Of The Wreck

Who would want to go fishing if it would cause a wreck? What are people even talking about when they refer to “wreck” fishing? It doesn’t sound appealing to the untrained ear, but fishermen salivate over the notion of anchoring above a salt or freshwater sunken vessel and casting a line, knowing something will come of it. They just don’t know what.

What Is Wreck Fishing?

This is literally fishing above the wreck of a vessel large enough to support marine life. The sea is littered with the remnants of wood and metal boats from a century of travel and commerce and even further back, although the sea devours all types of material over time. New ships are sadly added every year too, sometimes with considerable loss of life, but sometimes sailors, fishermen, and passengers are rescued and the only tragedy is that another vessel makes its home at the bottom of a sea or lake.


A wreck becomes the safe haven for many types of aquatic animals, some of which will make this their home. Others pass through, using shadow and cover for stealthy hunting of smaller prey. Numerous fish on their long migratory journey will use underwater castles as resting or feeding grounds but not necessarily for feeding on other animals. Many types of plant life grow on, under, or inside of these sunken boats as well.

Fish Sizes

There is no way to be sure what you will catch or how large or small it will be when you go out wreck fishing. It’s all about the time of day, bait, weather, and season. Furthermore, when two fishermen head out sport fishing for a big catch, one might haul in a 15-pound cod and the other, a 2-pound smoothhound. That’s just the way it goes.

This makes it difficult to know what should be on your hook or how heavy a rod to bring, but prepare for large fish to be safe. It’s always a good idea to talk to locals and guides, hearing what they have to say about successful bait such as minnows, squid, ragworms, etc.

Where to Find These Spots

Many wrecks are recorded online and are well known throughout the fishing world, having been sunken for decades. Some are anecdotally reported but not written anywhere officially. Still, others will be discovered accidentally by fishermen whether or not they are looking for them, to begin with. They might decide to investigate reports of unusually good fishing at particular coordinates. Use all of the tools at your disposal, including GPS and fish-finding equipment. These determine where you are navigationally and help you spot the signs of a wreck in the form of unusual patterns that don’t resemble the sea bottom but take on jagged edges and unusual peaks. But take caution around shallow objects that might damage your vessel.