When waves break, they create foam, which is then carried along by the currents. As the current pushes the foam along, it picks up small ocean life and debris. This attracts small fish looking for food, which then attracts large fish looking to eat the smaller fish. Since these foaming piles of debris can get pretty big, they also offer some great shade for bigger game fish.
When an object floats around the sea for a while, it begins to create an ecosystem of its own. Fish and other sea life from various parts of the food chain are attracted to this new ecosystem. In fact, some fishermen in different parts of the world even use anchored trash, such as netting or palm fronds, to create their own fish-attracting devices (FADs).
Generally, the longer something has been floating around the ocean, the better the chances of finding ocean life around it. But whether or not that floating debris contains fish – and which type you can find there – depends on many different things.
The speed of an object’s drift will depend on its size and weight. Newer objects floating higher in the water tend to drift faster than large, heavy ones that sit lower in the water and aren’t as affected by the wind. Faster objects are harder for fish to keep up with, so they don’t generally tend to hang out around them. However, slower-moving objects are easier to keep up with and are often good places to find fish.
If an area of foam and debris has a lot of fish gathering inside it, you’ll probably also find birds circling it looking for food. You may even see some birds resting on the floating debris.
For the best chances of catching fish in these areas of floating debris, either head out early in the morning or wait until the night – this is when the fish tend to gather in these spots.