How to Catch Saltwater Fish

Successful Fishing Trips

Would you like to know how to catch saltwater fish or how to become a successful saltwater angler? Understanding the basics of saltwater fishing is a great place to start but it also helps to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve for those memorable days when the biggest specimens are queueing up to bite. Knowing the best saltwater fishing tackle also makes a world of difference to your credibility as a boat, pier or onshore angler.

Saltwater fishing, the generic term used for ocean fishing, makes many amateur anglers think of expensive boat excursions and a pastime that’s financially out of their reach. In reality, saltwater fishing can be just as much fun onshore. Seasoned fishermen refer to this particular type of angling as surf fishing.

A suitable choice of live or artificial bait helps the angler to catch a specific species of saltwater fish, often for the season a charter or an onshore session is scheduled.

Saltwater Fish Species

Saltwater fishing is only permissible in states and countries with an ocean border or a high-salinity river inlet. Newcomers to the sport often think of spectacular fighting fish, particularly tuna or marlin, but some of the most enjoyable saltwater fishing trips take on a more relaxed theme.

Every keen angler wants to catch the largest specimens but it’s usually best to start out baiting some of the more common and smaller saltwater fish.

grouper fishingCommon saltwater fish include:

  • Tarpon
  • Sailfish
  • Spotted Sea Trout
  • Snook
  • Red Drum
  • Grouper
  • Snapper
  • Mackerel

Sharks also fall under the category of saltwater fish and, with around 440 known species across the world, you’ll be able to catch some truly impressive specimens without any of the Jaws-style drama which, in reality, is strictly reserved for Hollywood blockbusters.

Like bait, the fishing tackle has a vital role to play in the type of saltwater fish you might want to catch. A boat charter is one of the most affordable ways to gain experience in saltwater fishing and because charters are very much a money-spinning industry, you’ll learn the basics of using tackle from experienced saltwater fishermen who will want to secure your business again in the future.

Share a boat charter with friends, or arrange a saltwater fishing outing with members of a forum or a social media page, and you can split the cost between you.

Tips, Tricks, and Saltwater Fishing Tactics

Knowing how to catch saltwater fish is one thing. A thorough understanding of the tips, tricks, and tactics which turn an average day’s fishing into a lifetime experience is something else altogether. The knots you use, the condition of your bait and even a pre-charter chat with some friendly locals will make a difference to the way you approach saltwater fishing.

The Correct Knot

Imagine how frustrating it can be to lose a mammoth catch because you haven’t tied the right knot. One of the most important considerations with saltwater fishing is to learn about knots which retain the entirety of their strength under the weight of a catch. The Bimini Twist is undoubtedly the knot for the job. Keep a knot manual with you during charters and don’t forget to practice different methods at home in your spare time.

Bait Condition

The health of your live bait will influence your success with saltwater fish so, to ensure you always catch your fair share, keep the bait out of direct sunlight at all times. Investing into a water bait aerator helps in keeping minnows oxygenated but if you don’t have the money for advanced equipment of this kind, change the water for your bait every couple of hours. Cool water is best because it holds much more oxygen than warmer water.

Local Knowledge

Most chartered trips will begin with a visit to the bait shop and the local employee working there will know more on how to catch saltwater fish than most. Ask about the best species to target for the time of year, the best bait to use and where the best spots are if you plan to fish onshore. A local angling club is another great source of saltwater fishing information and, after a successful charter, you can meet up again to share a beer and swap stories.

The Perfect Spot

Most saltwater fish live in specific oceanic structures and a little research before heading out on a charter often results in some monster catches. The internet usually has local fishing guides listing natural and manmade structures. This saves money on expensive maps which claim to know about secret locations when the information is already available online. With a little advance research, you’ll soon be able to identify the perfect spot.

Caring for Tackle

If you plan to catch saltwater fish on a regular basis and want to invest in the new tackle, a saltwater reel of good quality is essential but it won’t necessarily be cheap. Protect your investment by soaking your reel in fresh water for at least two hours after each charter or onshore trip. Even reels designed for this type of fishing perish because of the high salt content. Some basic care preserves reels for many hours of happy fishing in the future.