Are you fishing the break? If not, you have been missing out. A “break” can be many different things, but the two types of breaks I am referring to are related to water color and temperature. Not only will you catch more fish on the break, you will save time and gas looking for the right spot.
The color break can usually be seen where two different waters meet. For a freshwater example, a creek or river might flow into a lake. If that creek is muddy, at the entrance to the creek from the lake, you may be able to see a line in the water where the mud from the creek is separated from the clear water of the lake. Fishing that line in the water can produce more fish.
The same applies to offshore waters. Sometimes you can see where the green water meets the blue water. These types of color breaks are very important to finding the fish. Larger fish will hang out where the two waters meet and treat that line like a buffet line. I have watched many times larger fish darting in and out of the line chasing bait. They will also sit right on the line, watching the current bringing a steady supply of food within reach.
Fishing off the coast of Hatteras in the winter, you can see dramatic differences in temperatures relatively close to shore. Off of Cape Hatteras, you can find two different currents that meet. The Labrador Current brings cold water from up North, while the Gulf Stream brings in warm waters from the South. Leaving the inlet, you might be in 45 degree water. However, within 20 miles you can be in 78 degree water. Sometimes you can actually see the temperature break because the cold winter air will create a fog on the surface of the ocean, right were 70 degree water meets 30 degree air. Finding the area that has the sharpest temperature break within the shortest distance can be very productive.
We can use satellite Sea Surface Temperatures to determine where we can find the temperature break. For example, take a look at the image below.
You should notice that there is a hard temperature break between the two arrows. On the East side of the break there is 40 degree water and on the West side there is 70 degree water. If I were going to fish off Hatteras, I would start trolling around that bottom arrow, toward the top arrow on that break. If I were going to target Bluefin Tuna, knowing that they prefer 60-68 degree water, I would work that line in that temperature zone. Any underwater structures holding bait within that line should be investigated.
Here is a video on how to use Fishing Status to find the GPS coordinates for the break.
Working the Break
One of the best benefits of either type of these breaks, you will often find debris and weed lines. Because the two water are essentially colliding, objects that float in the water are often found right on a hard break, whether it be color, temperature, or both. This floating structure will usually hold a lot of baitfish. Fishing along these lines on the break will increase your odds of hooking up with big fish.
It took me a very long time to realize fish are not much different than we are when it comes to food and temperature. You set your thermostat in your house to your preferred temperature and you like to keep your food close by in a refrigerator. Fish also have a preferred water temperature, and can be found close to baitfish. Find a break, and you have a very good chance of finding food and temperature for your target species.
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