Saltwater fishing is nothing like freshwater fishing. To begin with, saltwater fishing takes significantly stronger and heavier tackle and equipment than that used by freshwater fishermen.
Let’s dive right in.
What’s Required to go Saltwater Fishing
There are several categories of saltwater fishing discussed in this article.
Light to Medium Category
For starters, there is the light to medium saltwater fishing category. This includes fishing for certain species such as Snook, Redfish and Spotted Sea Trout.
These fish and others in this category are typically caught in bays and other similar estuaries. Also included in this category would be inshore fish such as the Pompano.
If you are saltwater fishing for these species to eat them, be aware that during the summer months redfish and trout will most likely contain worms.
Reels and Rods
A spinning reel in the class of a Penn 710 or 712, or 4500ss spooled with a fine quality 10-pound test monofilament line works best. Along with a light to medium action rod. Penn makes good quality reels that will hold up to the harsh saltwater fishing environment.
For saltwater fishing terminal tackle you should begin by tying a shock leader approximately 18 inches long using a 20 pound test line or fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is slightly more expensive but it is significantly less visible to the fish.
Attach the leader tying line to line or use a saltwater rated barrel swivel. For the hook you’d better use a 6/0, preferably an Eagle Claw.
Second Category for Saltwater Fishing
The second category applicable to saltwater fishing is the medium to heavy category. For species such as Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, and smaller Jacks.
These species of fish are mostly found near shore regions of the Gulf of Mexico and on the Lower East Coast. In this class you could also include the smaller “schoolie” King Mackerel under the legal size limit of 24”.
A Saltwater Species Guide
Do not forget to consult a saltwater species guide for knowing the difference between the large Spanish Mackerel and juvenile Kingfish. They are extremely similar.
The easiest way to tell the difference is that the Spanish Mackerel will have a “black flag”, on the anterior portion of its dorsal fin where the King Mackerel, with the exception of very young fish, does not have this special detail.
A More Reliable Way
The second more reliable way to tell is by looking at the lateral line that runs down the body. In a Spanish Mackerel this line drops gradually behind the pectoral fin whereas in the King Mackerel the line drops off sharply.
To be on the safe side, equip yourself with a Penn 704 or similar size equipment spooled with 12-15 lb test coupled with a thin wire leader of 20lb test or so.
Check your local fishing regulations for the most appropriate hook. In Florida, for example, a small treble hook like a 2/0 is used.
Saltwater Fishing and Inshore Net Bans
From the moment the inshore net bans were placed these species have come back more abundantly than ever and you will certainly be able to find some when saltwater fishing.
Keep in mind that Redfish, King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel are migratory species so you will have to verify the seasonal availability for these species of fish.
Enjoy your fishing trip. Tight lines!
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