In many of our coastal states, there are rivers and estuary systems where freshwater flows into saltwater and creates a brackish water environment (a mixture of fresh and saltwater). The advantage of fishing in brackish water is that you have an opportunity to catch a variety of saltwater and freshwater game fish species in the same area.
Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance for varying levels of water salinity. Examples of brackish water fish include species such as snook, tarpon, red drum, sheepshead, largemouth bass, channel catfish, peacock bass, and striped bass.
Brackish Water Fishing Spots
Once you know what brackish water is, and which fish species can be found in brackish water, the next step is to consider the types of spots where you are likely to find brackish fish. Just don't forget to check your state fishing regulations to see which laws apply to brackish species. If you have any questions about whether you need a freshwater or saltwater license, this is also the time to contact your state agency. There are two main factors that can help contribute to a good brackish water fishing spot.
Brackish Tidal Flow
When fishing in brackish water, just as when you are fishing in saltwater, tidal flow and current are important. Check to see if there is a tide chart for the brackish waterway where you plan to fish. If so, you are likely to have the best luck if you fish during those time periods when the tide is either rising or falling.
The presence of structure also helps draw fish species to a specific brackish water spot, just like it does when freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing. Bridges or weirs can be great places to try catching brackish water fish species such as snook or largemouth bass.
Brackish Water Baits and Lures
After learning about the types of spots to find brackish fish, you will want to bring along the right baits and lures to help you catch them. Shrimp and finger mullet are two natural baits that generally work well when fishing in brackish areas. If you prefer using artificial baits or lures, you can try spoons, bucktail jigs, and topwater poppers.
Brackish Water Gear
When planning to fish in brackish water, be sure to use heavier gear than you would when freshwater fishing. Red drum, snook, and tarpon are just a few examples of large brackish species that can be hard fighters. You may want to try a 7-foot medium-heavy rod paired with a medium-heavy reel. Be sure that your reel is spooled with 10 to 12-pound test line, and tie on 2 to 3 feet of 20-pound test leader material.