Saltwater Fishing Basics
Saltwater fishing is a broad term used to describe the method of fishing in the ocean. Saltwater fishing can be done on shore (surf fishing), on a boat or on a pier. Live bait and artificial bait are used by saltwater anglers, which varies based on the type of fish the angler is trying to catch. Saltwater fishing is only available in states/countries that border an ocean or have an inlet river with a high level of salinity. Some of the greatest fighting fish are saltwater fish, such as the tuna or marlin. Saltwater fishing provides some of the best fishing experiences an angler can ever have.
Some of the common types of saltwater fish sought out by anglers are bluefish, bonefish, cobia, cod, flounder, grouper, halibut, jewfish, kingfish, mackerel, marlin, pacific yellowtail, redfish, sailfish, sea trout, sharks, snapper, snook, striped bass, tarpon and tuna. The type of fishing tackle used can vary based on the species of fish the angler is trying to catch. Saltwater fishing charters are a billion dollar industry in tourist areas. In fact, if you’re new to saltwater fishing, a charter is a great way to get some experience and learn some tips from a professional saltwater fishermen. While they can be a little expensive, you could get a bunch of your buddies to go on a trip so you can all split the cost.
Saltwater Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics
- Use the Right Fishing Knot – The best way to make sure you don’t lose that next world record fish is to make sure you’re using the right knot. You need to learn a fishing knot that can retain 100% of its strength when tied, and only the bimini twist (aka 20 times around know) can do just that. The right knot can make the difference between a big catch, or a big disappointment. For this reason, we strongly recommend keeping the Pro-Knot Saltwater Fishing Knot Manual with you at all times.
- Keep Live Bait in Tip Top Shape – If you’re using live bait it’s important to keep it in the best shape possible. Make sure to always keep live bait out of direct sunlight and if you have aquatic bait like minnows then make sure to buy a water bait aerator to keep sufficient oxygen levels. If you don’t have an aerator then make sure that you change the water every 2 hours. Warm water can’t hold as much oxygen as cool water.
- Talk to the Locals – You should talk to your local tackle shop employee in order to find out what’s going on in the area you plan to fish in. They’ll know what’s going on and what the best bait to use is at the time of year you’re fishing in. You might even want to consider joining a local angler’s club where anglers get together to swap stories, plan trips and drink beer.
- Finding the Spot for Fishing – One easy way to snag some monster saltwater fish is to research the type of structure they like to live in and then locate those structures where you plan to fish. There are tons of resources on the internet to locate natural and man-made structures in your area. Avoid paying for any maps that claim to have secret locations and/or structures, nine times out of ten you can locate these structures with free research.
- Watch Your Leader – If you’re using a leader then it’s important to keep an eye on the knot area of where your line is tied to your leader. This area and about a foot or two above it tends to get damaged pretty quickly, especially if you’re surf fishing. You’ll want to cut off any bad or frayed areas and retie your leader. Don’t lose a big monster catch because you were too lazy to check your leader knot. And also make sure to use a quality leader, we recommend the Seaguar Blue Label Fluorocarbon Leader.
- Preserve the Experience for Others – The only way we can sustain commercial and recreational fishing in the future is to work together. Use a circle hook when fishing to prevent injury to the fish. We like the Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hook, but if you have a barb hook then you can simply crush it with some needle nose pliers. Never keep your catch out of the water longer than you can hold your own breath. The slime that covers a fish protects it from bacteria and infection, so do your best to not remove this slime. Also, don’t forget to practice catch and release, especially during spawning seasons!
- Protect Your Investment – Good fishing tackle isn’t cheap, especially if you have a quality saltwater reel. So don’t get yourself in the situation of having to replace it. It’s a good idea to soak your reel in a bucket of freshwater for 2 to 4 hours after saltwater fishing to ensure you get all the saltwater off of your line and reel.
Additional Resources on Saltwater Fishing
- Saltwater Fishing Made Easy – This book is a complete resource that will improve your knowledge and also give you terrific how-to instruction.
- Saltwater Sportsmen Forum – An excellent community of saltwater sportsmen who get together to discuss anything and everything related to saltwater fishing.