Saltwater fishing is an exciting experience for anglers to catch new species but figuring out what kind of saltwater fishing gear, bait, and locations you need for the destination can be overwhelming. Local tackle shops are the best resources if you know the right questions to ask. These shops are generally locally owned and staffed by passionate anglers who live and fish in the areas you are targeting.
Be sure to pick up polarized saltwater fishing sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen along with gear to catch fish. Start by purchasing a valid fishing license and go prepared to the tackle shop with these questions to ask.
1. When is the tide running?
Many anglers who are new to saltwater fishing underestimate the importance of knowing when the tides are moving. Asking the local tackle shops about where to fish during the tidal movements can ensure that you have the best chances of catching fish at the best times of the day. The increase in current movement on either side of the tide change means more fish are feeding. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with tide charts, so you know the times of the high and low tides each day.
2. What kind of saltwater fishing gear do I need?
Saltwater fishing can range from surf fishing to fishing in the bays and jetties so the types of saltwater fishing reels, rods, bait, and tackle will vary. Some gear will depend on the types of species you want to catch like redfish, sheepshead, pompano, and drum. Having an idea of where you plan to fish, and the species you want to target gives you a head start on the gear you will need.
Saltwater fishing does not automatically mean heavy duty tackle. A simple set-up of a rod, reel, line, and tackle that can be used for a variety of species is a good place to start. Some tackle shops will even rent gear that you can use and try before making an investment.
3. Where are the best places for saltwater fishing?
Insider knowledge, no matter where you do your saltwater fishing, is the best bet. Tackle shops are where local fishing guides and charter captains frequent for gear and bait and where the exchange of important information happens like what’s biting, where and when. This is the kind of information that tackle shops are generally willing to share.
Saltwater fishing lends itself to so many opportunities. Most coastal destinations will have fishing options that range from piers, bridges, harbors, the surf along the beach, bays, jetties, inshore, offshore and kayak fishing.
4. What kind of saltwater fishing rigs do I need?
Every species is different so the rigs and bait to target them will depend on what you want to catch. It is a good idea to do a little homework on the location you are fishing to research the species available at different times of the year. Then, the local tackle shop can advise you on the saltwater rigs that work best and what works well for what is biting “now.” Fish bite preferences can change throughout the seasons so the combination of saltwater fishing leaders, hooks and set-ups can also change.
5. Do you have any insider advice?
Local tackle shops are usually generous with information to set you up for success with saltwater fishing. They can offer you years of insider knowledge and they talk to the anglers everyday who come in sharing details of recent catches, what they used for bait and on what gear. Tackle shops have a vested interest in keeping you as an engaged angler and customer, so this is the best place to pick up insider information.