BlogAugust 2016

Saltwater Fishing Tackle for Boat or Shore

Saltwater Fishing Tackle for Boat or Shore

By Andy Whitcomb

Aug 22, 2016

The best saltwater fishing tackle depends on where you are fishing and what you want to catch. Learn what types of gear work for boat fishing, trolling, and shore fishing. You may even catch a ray, or a shark!

Choosing the right saltwater fishing tackle and gear is somewhat of a personal preference but greatly influenced by what shows up at the end of your line. In a pinch during a South Carolina vacation, I bought a medium spinning combo preloaded with 12-pound line at a big box store. Later that day, I found myself connected to a very large ray. For an hour and a half we dueled and that largemouth bass gear held up amazingly well. 

Saltwater Tackle for Boat Fishing
If you plan on trolling, casting won’t be much of an issue. Just free spool and drop the bait in the water. These reels probably are heavily geared baitcasters, which can hold lots of heavy line. The rods tend to be shorter and heavy duty to handle brutes such as tuna, marlin, or wahoo. Similar fishing gear will work if you plan to anchor and jig or drop bait down to a reef for grouper, amberjack, or even sharks.

Some fish may require longer casts and boat movement, perhaps following schools which may be indicated by flocks of feeding birds also chasing baitfish. Longer, “whippier” rods paired with heavy spinning reels may be more beneficial here. Redfish, striped bass, or tarpon might be targeted with this type of fishing gear.

Saltwater Tackle for Shore Fishing
If fishing from a jetty or long pier, the rod and reel mentioned above will be a good general combo for fish like black drum and sheepshead. However, if fishing from a beach, you will want to make very long casts. The rod may be 12 feet, with a very long butt for loading and launching leverage. 

If you don’t know what species to expect, visit with the locals fishing where you want to fish.  The tackle store in that area also will be a great source of information and will likely carry the appropriate saltwater fishing tackle and should be able to get you started. Be sure to check the saltwater fishing license requirement for your state. 
Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.