Saltwater fishing doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips on how to be thriftier with your tackle box.
Saltwater Fishing is a great equalizer. Anyone can try it, but it’s tough to actually hook up (let alone catch fish) for beginners. With larger bodies of water the fish could be anywhere, and even with thousands of dollars worth of equipment you’re not guaranteed to catch them.
Good news is, you don’t need to spend big bucks to get results. Whether you’re surf fishing, on a pier, or in a boat, it can be an enjoyable and affordable pastime with these smart fishing tips for saltwater anglers.
Here’s a list to help you gear up and get started without emptying your bank account.
1. Tag along with a friend
Most veteran anglers have extra rods, reels, and tackle lying around. If you go with an experienced angler, not only can you benefit from their knowledge, but you will probably be able to borrow some gear. Just remember to be courteous and chip in for bait and snacks.
2. Look for entry level rod and reel combos
Lots of companies make affordable entry level fishing rod and reel combos. Some come loaded with line, and some will even have small tackle kits included. These combos can range from around $12 and up depending on size and gear included. You can expect to pay around $20-$30 for a setup that will last for years with proper care.
Get one here.
Learn a couple fishing knots, and you’re in business.
3. Find tackle kits
For ease and affordability you can’t beat a pre-packaged kit. If you are new to fishing, these kits have all you need to get started. Your basic starter kit will have all the terminal tackle you need (hooks, weights, leaders, fishing line, bobbers, clips, and probably a few fishing lures) along with some standard gear like a stringer and hook remover. You can find kits at tackle shops that set you up for specific areas like coastal, inshore, or offshore kits which will have a little bit of everything clearly labeled to tell you what setups work best on which species. An added bonus is, they usually come in their own tackle box that’s easy to store and carry in a small backpack, and you can reuse it when it’s time to buy more gear. These kits will run at around $10-$20.
Get one here.
4. Fish in public places
Private piers are nice and boat rides are fun, but don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Bays, gulfs, and oceans are huge, there are usually loads of places to get on that shore and wet a line. There are also usually public piers available. If you don’t know where any are you can head to your local bait shop and ask around, or get on the internet and find a local fishing report or forum. Any of these will help you know what’s biting and where.
5. Check your local regulations
This may seem like common sense, but forgetting could be the difference between a big fish and a big fine. Make sure you’re properly licensed, and you know the local size and bag limits before you even head out. Keep a measuring tape or fish ruler on hand to make sure your trophy is legal. A slip-up here can cost you a hefty fine, and they’ll take your fish.
Bonus. Get a cast net
Once you’ve gone fishing a few times, and you know it’s a hobby you’d like to keep up with, you should invest in a cast net. For around $30 you can get a small cast net and catch your own bait. It is a tool that will pay for itself in what you aren’t spending on bait. Another bonus is, taking your bait out of the water means you are using what the fish are eating. It can also be a decent indicator of how active the fish will be in that area since hungry fish should follow the bait fish.