Reel ‘Em In: A Guide To Mastering Saltwater Fishing

Mastering Saltwater Fishing

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Most people just starting out with fishing go to lakes and riverbanks. These are the safest areas and there’s a high probability of success. 

However, if you want to catch the most impressive species, saltwater fishing is the only option. The marine environment supports an ecosystem of bigger species, allowing you to make championship catches. 

But how do you master the art of this type of fishing? Well, you’re about to find out. This post runs through everything you need to know to make the most of your next trip and have a wildly exciting time on the water. 

Collect The Gear You Need

The gear you need for saltwater fishing is a little different from what’s required for rivers and lakes. However, the basic principles remain the same. 

Start by choosing your rod and reel. You may want something a little sturdier, depending on the size of fish you want to catch. 

If you are planning on surf fishing, that’ll require a heavier-duty setup. Likewise, if you’re going to be out on a kayak, you’ll want something that’s lighter weight. 

As for bait and lure, many anglers prefer to use shrimp or minnows. These can be highly effective and draw in some of the larger fish. 

If you use artificial saltwater flies, make sure that you bring a collection of different options with you. Having a range of shapes and colors makes it more likely you’ll have the ideal lure for the weather and water conditions (as well as the time of year). 

Also, try to find out which lure is best for the species you want to catch. Knowing this in advance should improve the likelihood of a catch. 

Finally, you will need to learn a little about rigging. Understanding various knots for attaching hooks and so on is critical for saltwater fishing. The Palomar knot, for instance, is vital. 

Understand Saltwater Fishing Environments

Guide Saltwater Fishing

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The next step is to learn about the various saltwater fishing environments you will encounter. These can vary substantially from each other and each requires a precision approach for a successful expedition. 

Many anglers start in the shallow water of bays and estuaries. These often feel familiar because of their reliance on fly fishing and the use of light tackles. 

However, once you get into deep-sea fishing, the challenges multiply. Not only is the physical act of fishing more challenging, but you also need to control your boat and ensure it doesn’t spook your prey. 

Many people are now also becoming more interested in surf fishing. Instead of taking a boat out to sea, you cast from the beach or shoreline into breaking waves. Fish are often less alert to unusual activities in their environment, making a bite more likely. 

If you like the idea of surf fishing, you’ll want to choose baits that can withstand the turbulence. Additional water movement can rip conventional organic bait off your lines. 

Develop Saltwater Fishing Techniques

Once you’ve done the initial prep, you’ll need to develop essential saltwater fishing techniques. These enable you to make bigger catches. 

Start by practicing with longer rods and heavier reels and weights. You’ll want to position these far from your boat but also close enough so that you can reel anything in that bites. 

You can also investigate the “trolling” technique of saltwater fishing. The idea here is to use a moving boat to drag bait lures through the water, making them behave more like conventional live prey. 

Getting trolling right requires the proper rod and reel setup, so you will need to make a significant investment. However, once you have it in place, you can choose the appropriate lures and cover a large expanse of water. 

If you want to target deepwater species, you will also need to learn to jig, another technique used by anglers fishing in the ocean. The basic idea is to drop weighted lures to your desired depth and then drop the tip of your rod to make them jump up and down in the water. If you can get the technique right, you should notice that fish find it irresistible, increasing bite chances significantly. 

Don’t move the rod too vigorously. That might spook fish. Instead, mimic the movement of prey, changing your technique if you notice one specific action works more than another. 

Learn To Target Species

While learning these techniques, it also helps to learn how to target various species. Marlin, snapper, and tuna, for instance, all require different approaches. 

For example, marlin fishing requires you to use large, colorful lures and be patient. Tuna fishing, on the other hand, works best with trolling. 

As well as learning fish-specific techniques, you also want to consider habitat. The subsurface environment can affect the effectiveness of your strategies. 

For instance, if you want to find marlin, your best bet is to go offshore where the water is warm. By contrast, snapper often congregate around reefs and wrecks. Finally, tuna will go just about anywhere, including inshore and offshore. 

Over time, you should get a handle on the best techniques for specific species and where they live. Each behaves slightly differently, but it can take some time to learn all the nuances, so be patient at the start or go with a guide who can show you the ropes. 

Be Safe

Finally, because you will be going on more on open water, it is essential to be safe. Ocean currents could potentially sweep you away or take you off course. 

Safety begins with knowing the weather forecast before you go out. Ideally, you want a bright sunny day with minimal wind and rain. 

In addition, you want to ensure you have plenty of emergency preparedness equipment onboard, just in case you get into trouble. Warm clothing, life vests, flares, and a first-aid kit are all essential. 

So there you have it: a comprehensive guide to mastering saltwater fishing. The more you understand about the environments you fish in, the more successful you are likely to be.


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