If a saltwater angler goes out on a boat, how much could we expect that person to catch during a typical day? I would like to set some personal expectations.

Obviously if the variables are against you (eg: bad spot), the lower bound would be 0. But if you get it right (see the linked question What are the variables that will significantly affect saltwater fishing success?), what is a good, or maybe upper bound, that we can expect?

If we have an estimate based on good anglers (eg: records or sports champions), that would help us know what not to expect, which is useful, and I suspect that info might be easier to come by, but all I can find is records for the largest fish caught, which really is not helpful here.

Since I fish to eat, I am interested in total weight, so I don't really care if it is a single 20 pound fish or 20 single-pound fish. If that information is not available, then whatever info is available is acceptable as long as it is useful for me to make estimates to set my expectations.

It doesn't need to be exact at all; very rough estimates are fine as long as they are useful. If location matters, assume Atlantic ocean, off the eastern coast of the United States of America.

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    @Aaron these feels like duplicate of If you are stranded at sea, how reliable of a food supply are fish with a basic set of fishing equipment? if it is not then you need to define a geographic location, there are legal limits based on species and governing legal body. Sep 28, 2018 at 10:03
  • @JamesJenkins The situation is different, and I have honestly wondered about this for a while from the angle of both questions. However, full disclosure: I actually asked this question now as an attempt to gather more information for the question you linked, as I thought asking people "What's likely in this activity that you actually do" would bring more experience to the table. The original wording of the question was definitely different, but I modified it before submitting. I'll put it back to what I was originally going to ask.
    – Loduwijk
    Sep 28, 2018 at 13:21
  • @JamesJenkins This question was hoping to establish an upper bound on what to expect, hence the other question that was a part of this 2-question duo. I've edited to make that more clear. Originally, I was going to ask from the point of view of a good sport angler, but I realized that was unnecessary and would be less useful, and their fishing data would be about record sizes or sheer quantity caught in a day anyway, not necessarily about total eatable pounds.
    – Loduwijk
    Sep 28, 2018 at 13:38
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    @Aaron you cannot establish an upper bound with a question like this. Competition scores are not useful here either as they are a very artificial focus. People who fish for food do not follow the same rules.
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 29, 2018 at 9:55
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    Closed - following your meta post, what you are looking for here is not answerable in the SE format. There could be any number of answers, all correct on different days, if you move a few miles along a coast etc. Some locations the only limit is how fast you can get them off the hook, others you may not get a single catch in a day. Asking about angling techniques is more answerable. And remember, most anglers do not have catching fish as the main goal. Often it comes second after just fishing...
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


First there are legal limits, these vary by species and the legal body with control over the body of water.

Second physical (without regard for the law) catch limits are boundless. The right bait and tackle in the correct area, you could catch multiple fish, each weighing hundreds of pounds each. In this case physical exhaustion would be the limiting factor.

If you have the wrong gear and/or the wrong location. You could fish and never catch anything (never as in die of starvation or old age).

Related When fishing in the Ocean off the US coast, at what point do fishing laws stop?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 1, 2018 at 8:03

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