One of the most frequent questions we receive here at Gottemondood is - What gear do I need to start saltwater fishing?
Here's the ten items that you'll need to get started with saltwater fishing.
- 1Saltwater Fishing Rod(s)
- 2Saltwater Fishing Reel(s)
- 3Saltwater Fishing Tackle (Hooks, Lures & Terminal Gear)
- 4Quality Line
- 5Tackle Box or Bag
- 6Landing Net
- 7Fillet Knife(s)
- 8Emergency and First Aid Kits
- 9Suncreen, Bug Spray
- 10Fishing License
Saltwater Fishing Rods
Although high-grade conventional saltwater rods provide the necessary backbone for big game anglers fishing offshore, those who are just beginning to fish in saltwater are better off starting out with quality medium weight rod that can handle a variety of fishing environments and species of fish. Here are our Gottemondood Saltwater Fishing Rod Recommendations.
For most new angler's, we recommend a quality fishing rod (fiberglass) and spinning reel combo that is rated for 10 to 25 test line. This setup will work effectively in a variety of different settings from surf and pier fishing to drifting in bays or inter-tidal estuaries, and in most cases, deep sea fishing. They help you to cast further while avoiding the frustrating backlashes and birds’ nests that are so common with conventional gear. As you either expand or narrow your focus on a specific species, setting or technique, adding complimentary rods is normal.
There are a variety of important considerations which should be taken into account when making your saltwater rod selection. Here is our full guide on Saltwater Fishing Rods, which discusses, rod materials and construction, rod lengths and weights, a rod's intended purpose in different settings and for different species of fish.
Saltwater Fishing Reels
Just like your saltwater fishing rod, your saltwater fishing reel is a cornerstone item - and will have a significant impact on your fishing success and enjoyment. There are four different types of saltwater fishing reels: 1) spinning reel, 2) spin-casting reel, 3) bait-casting reel and 4) fly-casting reel. For most beginners or fishing novices, spinning reels are an excellent choice since they are easiest to operate and control, especially during casting. Saltwater spinning reels are lighter weight than conventional saltwater fishing reels making them far easier to carry and maneuver. They also tend to be less expensive than their conventional counterparts.
Deciding on your reel type will also largely dictate your saltwater rod selection. Most saltwater fishing rods are designed to work together with a specific saltwater reel type.
There are a variety of important considerations which should be taken into account when making your saltwater reel selection. Here is our full guide on Saltwater Fishing Reels, which discusses the four types of reels, their respective benefits and challenges with attention to saltwater fishing types, including surf, pier, drift, bottom, inter-tidal and deep-sea sport fishing. Focus is also placed on reel materials and construction, as well as reel sizes and power.
Lubricate a New Reel - Lubricate a new reel to make sure no critical areas were overlooked at the factory. Lube it again at the end of the fishing season or every six months if you fish throughout the year. Baitcasting reels may need a touch on the levelwind gears more often. Always use light oil in those areas where grease is not required.
Saltwater Fishing Tackle (Hooks, Lures & Terminal Gear)
Saltwater fishing tackle is about as varied and nuanced as colors in a rainbow. However, there are essentials that no fisherman can do without. You can’t catch fish effectively without hooks, lures or bait. Similarly, you should have tools to remove hooks, crimp and cut fishing line. Each fisherman's tackle box will evolve to support the style or saltwater fishing settings you favor. You will undoubtedly carry your favorite casting spoons, jigs, topwater baits, and soft baits. You will add terminal tackle like swivels, weights, bare hooks for bait, and extra line for building leaders in the field. You should keep your tackle simple when getting started and focus on perfecting presentations with simple casting and jigging techniques.
Saltwater Fishing Line
Fishing lines for beginners are often pre-spooled to let you enjoy the fishing experience without going through the hassle of spooling it. You can choose between a braided fishing line and the monofilament one. Beginners should start with monofilament line as it is quick to tie knots and is very flexible. It can work well with your spinning reel for better casting. The use of specialized braided lines has increased dramatically. Braided line has a much thinner diameter than monofilament line of the same pound test, which basically extends the line capacity of your reel. It is also more resistant to abrasion. Thinner braided lines tend to cast easier and farther than most monofilaments. The only drawback is that braided line usually requires a leader in order to achieve optimum performance.
Because of the damage dealt out by constant exposure to saltwater and intense sunlight, it is important to always buy a good quality fishing line and change it often. Stick with the brands sold by major manufacturers and avoid ‘bargains’ on lesser-known products that may fail when put to the test. It’s no fun losing the fish of a lifetime because your cheap, low-quality line snapped at a crucial moment.
Use Fluorocarbon Leaders - No matter what type of line you select, the best types of leaders to use are ones made from fluorocarbon, which becomes virtually invisible to fish once it has been submerged.
Don’t use a Wire Leader - Don’t use a wire leader if you can get by with monofilament. You will get more strikes this way. Wire kinks easily which can cause it to break. Even toothy fish like bluefish can be caught on mono leaders if the material is heavy enough (at least 50- or 60-pound-test), and if you cut back the mono whenever it begins to look gnawed.
Extra Fishing Line - There are many different occasions when you may need extra fishing line. You get a nasty tangle in your reel and have to strip all your line. You hook into a huge fish and it completely runs you dry. Or maybe you just discover that the line on your rod is old and cracked and isn’t casting well. In any of those cases, you need to have backup line in your tackle box.
Tackle Box or Bag
Choosing how you will store and transport your tackle will largely be a function of your chosen fishing settings, your saltwater rods and reels and the need for mobility. The two most common methods for storing your tackle are in a tackle box or a tackle bag. Waterproof tackle bags with shoulder straps are better suited to the angler that will be mobile, whether in a kayak on the beach, at a pier, dock or jetty. Within most waterproof tackle bags, you will need a few hard cases for storing lures, hooks, and tackle. The obvious limitation is size and the amount of tackle that can be carried. Tackle boxes are best suited to the angler that will be more stationary or aboard a motorboat. When it comes to saltwater fishing, you want a saltwater tackle box that's waterproof, made of durable plastic that can withstand being dropped to the ground or even stood upon. You should inspect that the box has very sturdy handles and latches made from corrosion resistant metals. The tackle box should also have sufficiently large compartments and a deep base that can store your oversized lures used for offshore fishing.
While the value and utility of a landing net will vary by depending upon your fishing environment or situation, our experience is that this piece of gear can often make or break the success of your fishing excursion. There are few experiences more disappointing than losing a fish that you have worked to the shore, pier, dock or boat, only to lose while trying to bring them onboard. Collapsible nets are great for traveling on foot while a good long handle net is better for boats.
We recommend carrying one or more fillet knives along with a knife sharpener in your tackle box. We like to fillet our catch as soon as possible. These are our fillet knives of choice, but there are a wide selection to meet anyones needs.
Emergency and First Aid Items
Have you ever gotten a hook through the ear or through a finger? It’s an incredibly painful sensation and will usually create a lot of blood. In that case, you’re going to want to have a first aid kit, complete with antibiotic ointment, bandages, band-aids and sanitizer. Additionally, we recommend carrying an emergency flashlight, compass, rain jacket / poncho and emergency bottle of water. This is the Emergency and First Aid Kit that we carry ourselves.
Sunscreen and Bug Repellent - Have you ever been swarmed by mosquitos on a warm summer’s evening? Have you ever been stuck in the high noon sun reflecting off the water? A pleasant and comfortable fishing excursion can turn into a serious or even dangerous nightmare at the most unexpected times or places. Always be a boy scout when fishing and "be prepared." Always keep both bug repellent and sunscreen as part of your emergency and first aid items in your tackle box.
Your Fishing License
Never fish without a fishing license. If you get caught fishing without a license, you could be in serious trouble. You’ll have to pay a fine and could face further legal action depending on how many fish you caught. Always keep your license handy, whether in your tackle box or present on your body.