For millions of American fisherman, freshwater fishing provides enough enjoyment—and challenge—to last a lifetime. But if you’re looking for a new adventure, wetting a line in saltwater might be the trick. Each year, an estimated 12 million American anglers take saltwater fishing expeditions, according to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Atmospheric Administration.
While many of the same basic tactics and techniques of freshwater fishing apply to saltwater fishing, here are three tips to make the switch as seamless as possible.
1. Choose Your Fishing Spot Wisely
The first three rules of saltwater fishing: Location, location, location. Given the need to be in a coastal state to take full advantage of saltwater fishing, consider traveling to one of the most popular locations: According to NOAA, the five most popular U.S. destinations for saltwater angling are Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, California and New York.
And, despite what you might think, most saltwater fishing takes place close to shore: Only 10 percent happens in federal waters, according to NOAA. As a beginner, you might want to consider starting out by fishing the surf: the section of water between the shoreline and the breakers.
2. Choose the Right Fishing Bait
When it comes to saltwater fishing, most experts swear by live bait for their natural color, odor and texture. Consider using bait such as croaker, bloodworms, saltwater minnows and locally-acquired live bait. Or, consider using artificial lures like trolling lures, crankbaits, jigging spoons and other saltwater baits and lures.
3. Know Your Fishing Gear
Another major difference when it comes to saltwater fishing is the type of equipment and bait you’ll use. If you’re starting out by fishing the surf, you can try using heavy surfing rods and light saltwater fishing combos. To protect you against the harshness of the saltwater, you might also want to grab some heavy-duty fishing waders.
Find more saltwater gear online at Bass Pro’s special saltwater fishing section.