From the ocean breeze, to big game catches, to the sweet scent of salt in the air, there’s something undeniably special about saltwater fishing—and if you haven’t been yet, this summer is the perfect time to try!
You may be new to the saltwater scene, or to fishing altogether. Either way, there are a few simple tips to help you make the most of your new angling adventure. Just read on as we share a simple guide to saltwater success from your Robalo.
Find the perfect spot
When you’re ready to try out saltwater fishing, take some time to scope out the perfect destination! You might already be pretty close to the ocean—half of America, for example, lives in counties adjacent to the coast. If you’re not next to the water, then take some time to plan a trip that lets you enjoy it to the fullest. Instead of heading to the first beach you can find, search possible destinations based on your desired cruising style and the fish you want to catch. You might also plan a trip that lets you see several saltwater spots in one loop or trail—Southern California’s got plenty of opportunities in this area. You can fish from Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and the Channel Islands without ever needing to travel too far in any one direction—the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach form another attractive option, as do the Southern cities that line the Gulf Coast.
It’s not all offshore…
While offshore fishing offers a serious adventure for anglers, it’s not the only way to enjoy a saltwater experience! Jumping right from lake angling to the wide-open expanse can seem daunting, so feel free to start with closer-to-shore destinations that offer just as much fun and fishing. For example, there are plenty of beautiful bays and harbors to explore. Shallow-water flats fishing offers anglers the opportunity to land catches they can’t even find farther out, such as tarpon off Florida’s Gulf Coast, or bonefish in San Diego Bay. Brackish rivers that run along the coast provide another way to get a taste of the saltwater scene while still enjoying the comfort of the coast. The bottom line? Your adventure is up to you! Craft it the way you want.
Try new techniques
There are many basics that can apply to both freshwater and saltwater fishing—so if you’ve been fishing anywhere, you’re well on your way to saltwater success! But there are a few techniques that will help you do especially well as you try for saltwater species, such as trolling, which involves casting a line off your moving boat. This takes advantage of many saltwater species’ tendency to swim speedily through the waves (and the wake created by your boat!). Another popular option is chumming, or dropping chopped-up bait into the water to work up a feeding frenzy of big fish below.
Freshwater anglers may be used to checking aquatic vegetation for fish under cover—since that’s not a possibility on the ocean, get used to scanning the horizon for floating seaweed and even seabirds’ action on the surface (they can spot fish underwater before you can, giving you a hint as to where the catches may be found).
Rinse your Robalo after saltwater trips
You may already be used to rinsing off your Robalo between trips—but this is an especially important tip for saltwater trips, since the rinse-off can help prevent corrosion caused by the salt, all while keeping invasive species away from the next waterway you cruise.
Of course, the final (and most fun) tip is to practice, practice, practice your way to smoother saltwater fishing. Techniques and good habits form after many long, sunny days on the water—and most importantly, memories do, too! So grab a few friends and hit the water on your Robalo. You’ll be well on your way to big game catches in no time.