Saltwater Fishing: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re here, it’s a safe bet that you will learn how to go saltwater fishing like a pro.

Aside from saltwater fishing basics,

You also receive as much as practical advice that helps to prevent you from making common mistakes. From there, you will have a perfect outing.

And now, if you are ready to learn,

Here we GO.

Where and when to go saltwater fishing?

“Where” and “when” are two crucial factors that will complement each other, mainly go fishing in saltwater.


If you are a beginning saltwater angler and want to hone your skills at first, the best place will be a public fishing pier.

Try to find any place close to your place that offers free access. Or search for some that allow you to either fish near the shoreline or go off the dock in search of larger species.

Another way is that you can ask other fishers. But, MOST OF THEM want to keep their best areas secret or at least being vague.

Or you can ask owners at the tackle shop where you bought the essential saltwater fishing gear. Simply, these people want you to catch more fish and then continue spending money purchasing more later.


The best time to fish mainly based on the amount of sunlight, depth, warming trends, tidal flows, wind, weather and storm patterns.

Saltwater tides

The best fishing times often take place during a powerful incoming tide because the current may give crustacean, baitfish, etc.

So, avoid fishing at slack saltwater tide as you might catch nothing.


Since wind helps to push bait to the far shore, this factor also plays a vital role in fishing success.

If you’re going to go fishing on a boat, you should try to cast with the wind on a protected shore. In case of fishing from shore on a windy day, it’s best to fish where you can cast into the wind.


Light rain in a warm spring or summer helps you hide from the fish because it prevents the fish from seeing through the water.

However, heavy rain is not a good time to fish since it may muddy the water, making the fish trying to find bait or lures. Even, it also brings heavy runoff that can obstruct their gills. If it comes with lightning, it’s best to stop fishing to protect yourself.

How many types of saltwater fishing?

Since there are a lot of different types, you MUST determine which one you’re going to do. From there, you can prepare the necessary items to start the best fishing outing.

Down here to know better, guys!

Surf fishing

Surf fishing means you will catch the fish wading in the surf or standing on the shoreline. As a newbie, you should opt for this type as it’s easy to learn.

surf fishing

Soon, you will be surprised at the diversity of fish you can catch off the shoreline.

Pier fishing

Pier fishing is another type of fishing in saltwater spots for beginners or even seasoned fisherman to relax.

You don’t need to pay attention to weather conditions too much and bring as many gears as you like on a boat or kayak.


You NEED TO check the tides to know when you should go to catch the most fish swimming by your line.

Backwater and flats fishing

For tough fights with game fish such as Tarpon, you need to come to the inshore backwater and flats fishing by using a small flatboat or a kayak.

As an intermediate-level fisherman or a new angler just entering saltwater fishing, these places are a bit familiar and comfortable. You are able to catch a diversity of species like Spotted Sea Trout or Flounder here.

Bay fishing

With this type, saltwater anglers will enjoy some of the best fishing around reefs, shallows, and hills as participating in saltwater bay fishing.

As you know, a bay is a coastal body of water that links to a primary body of water. And it is often vast and encircled, making it an ideal place to catch saltwater sports fish, crustaceans and baitfish.

Deep-sea fishing

If you prefer the challenge and the adrenaline rush while going fishing in saltwater locations, deep-sea fishing is the best choice.

Just note that this type is not for newbies because you are coming out the open ocean, far from shore. But you can travel with a seasoned angler if he allows.

What do you need to saltwater fish?

Saltwater fishing bait and lures


Going fishing with natural bait is possibly the most useful way of angling for the saltwater game fish.

When matching the bait, it’s best to use to the prey of the fish you need to catch. Relying on that, you can increase your chance of success.

Mussels, clams, squid, sea worms, shrimp, and baitfish are the good bait for the game fish species.


Aside from availing natural baits, you also use artificial baits and lures to catch saltwater fish.

Here are some types and designs that are highly effective such as:

  • Soft baits such as grubs, plastic swimbaits, and slugs.
  • Hard baits like spoons, plugs, and poopers.
  • Biodegradable baits like Berkley GULP provokes a feeding response in fish due to its chemically pheromone-based scents.

Saltwater fishing tackle

Fishing line

Choosing a good-quality fishing line is necessary to deal with damages from intense sunlight and exposure to water. It’s best to stick with famous brands such as Berkley Trilene Big Game, Goture Superpower or Stren.

The type of fishing line is crucial as well.

Lots of saltwater fishermen opt for the monofilament line as it offers more strength and comes at a low price.

But, in recent years, the appearance of the braided line has changed. Not only does it have a much thinner diameter than the monofilament one but also be more resistant to abrasion.


The hook needs to match the size of the bait. If it is too small, a fish might miss it and steal the bait easily. In case it is too large, it will draw away attention.

There are three kinds of hooks for fishing in saltwater, including:

  • The J hook allows you to hook more baits to keep it secure.
  • The live bait hook enables the bait to swim freely and provoke hungry game fish with ease.
  • The circle hook tends to hook up in the corner of the fish’s mouth instead of its gullet, lowering the chances of a successful live escape.


A saltwater fishing rig is basically designed to put your bait or lure in a way that looks natural to a fish.

Here we will show some different types that you can follow.

  • The two-hook bottom fishing rig includes two dropper lines with bait hooks above a sinker, with the bottom rig for catching fish.
  • The three-way rig consists of a three-way pivot tied to a long leader for the weight and a shorter one for the bait hook. This rig setup suspends natural or artificial baits just above the bottom when you are going to trolling, drifting or tight line fishing.
  • Popping cork offers a float with a cupped face. It creates splashing or popping noises to attract fish to the bait that attached to the back of the rig.
  • Carolina rig begins with a sliding weight and glass bead slid on the main line above a pivot attached to a light wire gauge hook and a short leader.

Saltwater fishing gear

Selecting a saltwater rod and reel is determined by whether you want to fish with the troll, baitcast or metal jigs, what kind of fish, and where you plan to go.

saltwater fishing rod and reel

Besides, you need to keep in mind important things like:

  • High-speed reels are better suited to quick baits while low-speed ones are stronger when it comes to fighting the fish.
  • Longer rods can cast further; meanwhile, the shorter ones are stronger for catching the fish.
  • If seeing the term “power” on a rod, it means the ability that the rod can lift.
  • To get the right rod, you need to match the lure weight to the size of saltwater bait or lure you want to use.
  • Matching the reel to the line weight of the rood is necessary.

What are necessary saltwater fishing techniques?

With the boat

  • Trolling is the most common type of boat saltwater fishing. It will move at a low speed to keep the bait in motion and raise the chance that the fish will see and eat it.
  • Jigging makes baited rods bounce up and down on a jig to give an inviting move and attract the fish to chase. Make sure to use rockfish and squid in this case.
  • Chumming needs to use bloody fish parts, and you MUST place them in the water to lure the fish near your boat.
  • Bottom fishing is to catch the fish in deep water such as groupers, amberjack, snappers, etc. Lower your baited hooks vertically to the sea bottom when your boat is anchored or drafting at slack water.

Without the boat

  • Surf/Fly fishing is a common way to catch salmon, flounder, red drum, and striped bass. It requires you to cast a rod and reel while standing in the surf.
  • Float fishing is to use a balloon float far offshore for sharks to a light freshwater float for mullets. By using this technique, you can show the bait at a predetermined depth and allow you to know when the fish has eaten.
  • Baitcasting means a lure, and it’s different from spinning. This technique is helpful for catching pollack, bass, and mackerel.

FAQs about saltwater fishing

How can I identify saltwater fish species?

There is a massive variety of saltwater fishes that you can catch. Additionally, some other species can be only caught on the heaviest of gear in offshore waters or by an experienced crew.

For more information and identification for the particular species of saltwater fish, you can consult here.

What should I wear on the water?

Dressing is also a MUST to get a successful fishing outing because saltwater anglers often face intense cold and heat.

You should prepare lightweight shirts, shorts, non-skid rubber-soled shoes, windbreakers, and gloves.

Or stop by docks or ramps to see what other fishermen are wearing. Or head to a local outfitter where you can find the clothing that the anglers use to wear.

Should I bring electronics together?

Yes, of course.

Even, if you’re in protected backwaters, don’t forget to take a VHF radio, GPS, and fish finder. A personal locator beacon also helps to alert authorities if you meet any trouble on the water.

And remember to attach a RADAR system on the boat if you are going to head beyond the sight of land.

How can I set the drag on the reel?

An exact drag setting plays a vital role in catching a big fish.

Before setting it, remember that the drag pressure needs to placed on one-third the breaking strength of the line.

Let’s tie a loop at the end of the line and thread it through the rod’s eyes. Then set the rod in a rod holder and attach the loop to a hand scale. Later, tighten the drag and pull line off the reel with the hand scale.

By reading the weight on the scale, you will know the pounds of pressure that the drag is applying.

What will you do now?

Hopefully, our saltwater fishing basics here helps some new fishermen like you as well as making you excited about fishing.

And don’t forget to find and join vibrant fishing communities to receive advice from pro anglers. From there, you can figure out other best methods, excellent locations, etc. to start saltwater fishing.

If you grab other interesting and helpful info, please SHARE NOW by leaving your comments below.

Or TWEET our guide if it’s indeed useful not only for you but also for the others.

Once again! Thanks for reading, avid anglers!

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