Looking to break into the big leagues? For many anglers, that means graduating from local freshwater spots to world-renowned saltwater areas. Saltwater fishing, especially if you are doing it as a vacation activity, can end up being expensive, so we’ve collected a few tips to optimize your success and your budget so that you can savor the fishing experience of a lifetime.
1. New and distinctive fishing lures win the day: Saltwater fishing is a different game from freshwater, largely due to the cloudy water and the loss of visibility caused by the salt. As a result, new and bright-colored lures will help you to claim victory. Neon colors that show through the salty water will attract more eyes and earn you more bites than a lure that fades into the background.
2. Soak your reels: If you are used to freshwater fishing, maintaining your gear isn’t too difficult. Saltwater can wear down your reels and your fishing line much more quickly than freshwater can, so make sure to soak them in a bucket of water once you get home.
3. Watch your monofilament lines: There’s a reason that many saltwater anglers go with braided fishing line, since monofilament line can take the toll of saltwater faster than almost any piece of fishing equipment. If you are using a monofilament line as a leader, however, make sure to check it frequently. You don’t want to lose a big fish because your leader had all of its strength sapped by saltwater.
4. Don’t use wire leaders: While monofilament can’t always bear the brunt of saltwater, it is still a better choice for saltwater fishing than wire leaders. Wire can kink easily and won’t attract as many fish as monofilament line.
5. Take stock of tidal patterns: Want to make sure you get the most out of your day on the ocean? There’s no better way to do just that than by understanding the tides in your fishing area. Since tidal currents can impact everything from how fish behave to water depths at key spots, this step is an important one that every saltwater angler has to learn.
6. Patience is a virtue: With so much water to explore, some inexperienced oceanic anglers get the urge to repeatedly move the position of their boats when the fish don’t seem to be biting. Instead, stay patient and give the fish a chance to take interest in your lures and baits.
7. Go for saltwater-optimized equipment: Again, if you are used to freshwater fishing, be aware that you are going after bigger, heavier and stronger fish in the ocean. Don’t risk breaking your favorite freshwater rod and reel combo on your first saltwater fishing trip. Instead, add a heavier-duty fishing pole to your arsenal, preferably a budget model if you aren’t a frequent saltwater angler.
8. Play reef areas: Big game fish often school around reefs, since the small game fish that they eat tend to live there. If you want a guaranteed selection of fish, don’t try to be a trailblazer; head to the reefs and play the odds.
9. Watch for other animal activity: Often, dolphins or a flock of seagulls can tip you off to the location of a big game fish gold mine. Watch the skies for circling birds of pray or scan the waters for leaping dolphins. If you see anything, take your boat in that direction.
10. Charter a boat: If you are a destination angler looking for the best places to fish in your vacation spot, don’t be afraid to charter a fishing boat through a local outdoor recreation outfit. Chances are, you’ll get a guide who knows exactly where to go for the best fishing opportunities, giving you more bang for your buck and the memorable fishing vacation you deserve.