Saltwater Fishing Gear: Rods, Reels and Baits

Saltwater Fishing Gear: Rods, Reels and Baits

Saltwater Fishing

In America alone, over 15 million people list saltwater fishing as one of their favorite recreational activities. To some extent, the word saltwater is inaccurate. Changing it to something better would make a lot of sense. Most of the beautiful non-freshwater fishing centers in the United States are partially salty. Furthermore, most of the sport fishes like shad, salmon, striped bass, and steelhead trout are all anadromous; that is, they are bred in freshwater, lived most part of their lives in the ocean, and when it’s time for them to spawn, they migrate back to freshwater.

Saltwater is a simply a general term for water that contains a higher percentage of dissolved salts and solids over 30 percent. The saltiness of seawater or oceans varies from one ocean or seawater to another. Sharks, tuna, bluefish and marlin are common seawater fish species.

Saltwater Fishing

Brackish Water Fishing

More dissolved salts and solids are present in brackish water than freshwater. However, the saltiness of brackish water is lower than that of seawater. This could be as a result of seawater and freshwater mixing together in estuaries. Sport anglers prefer brackish waters for most of their fishing activities. Brackish water is commonly found in estuaries (a place where sea and river meet).

Brackish water contains 0.5-30g of salt in every liter of water (or 0.5-30 percent). This is just a range because it’s difficult to give a precise figure.  The salinity of most brackish waters differs over distance and time.

Freshwater is generally water with low concentrations of dissolved salts and solids (less than 0.5ppt of salt). Sport fish species that can be found in freshwater include walleye, crappies, bass, trout, muskie and pickerel.

A lot of write-ups have been published on choosing fishing gear. Even though the fishing gears for freshwater and saltwater are similar, some basic differences still exist. Saltwater fishing gear is usually heavier and more durable than freshwater gear. The metal parts of saltwater gear are specially treated to prevent corrosion.

Fishing Rods

A fishing rod is a stick specifically used to suspend a fishing line or string that ends in a hook. Modern fishing rods are a more sophisticated casting tool having line guides and a reel to store the line. It is noteworthy that fishing rods vary in length, flexibility and thickness. A fishing rod could be as long as 20 feet long and as the length of a fishing rod increases, the higher the mechanical advantage in casting.

Anglers extend their reach and leverage with a fishing rod. Fishing rods are very important to the casting  a  lure or bait to attract fish. These rods serve as an absorber for the shock of fish strikes, and they help in setting the hook and landing the fish. Fishing rods keep the reel in place and they also guide the fishing line.

Spin casting rods can be used for active fishing styles especially where lure casting and retrieval are frequently done.  Spinning rods are usually heavier and are specifically for fishing bigger fishes such as salmon, steelhead and bass. Surfcasting rods can be over 12 feet long and with strong construction to throw out heavy bait or lure beyond the surf’s breakers. Fly fishing rods are usually thin, long, light and flexible. Fly fishing rods are also designed to cast flies and streamers.

Surfcasters require tall poles of over 15 feet and trolling requires a shorter and stiffer fishing rod. Most of the casting and spinning rods on the market are 5.5-7.5 feet long. The most economical material used for fishing rods is fiberglass. Graphite is more sensitive, stiffer and lighter but it is expensive. You must match your fishing rod, reel and tackle if you indeed want to increase your chances of catching a fish. For beginner and casual anglers, a pre-packaged combination of rod, reel and tackle is a good choice. More details check our article How to Choose a Lure Rod - Fishing Lure Rod Specifications

Fishing Reels

Fishing reels are for storing, deploying and retrieving fishing line. They also increase the mechanical advantage of the handler to handle strong fish. Fishing reels have a special drag system that pressurizes fish when they get hooked. A baitcasting reel houses the fishing line on a revolving spool. Spools are fitted perpendicular to the fishing rod, and they also range in size. There are compact reels and massive reels. A reel requires more casting techniques to prevent tangled lines and backlash problems.

Most anglers find it very easy to use spinning reels and these reels are suitable for mid-weight fishing. The spool on spinning reels is fixed and it is set parallel and below the rod. Spinning reels are designed to cast flies and lures purposely to catch salmon and trout. The backlash problems of reels are solved by spool while models produced later are strong enough to handle bigger baits and catches. The best choice of reel that allows a light tackle is the spinning reels. Casual and beginner anglers find it easy to use spinning reels.

The backlash problem of bait casting reel is solved by spin cast reels. Spin cast reel also reduces the problem of line twisting and snaring that is encountered when using spinning reels.  The spin cast reel, known as face spinner, is mounted above the rod and fitted with a cup and external nose cone housing the spool.

Fly casting reels also store the fishing and assist in playing the fish. Irrespective of the type, reels meant for marine use are expensive due to the anticorrosion materials used to make them. Quality reels make use of sealed ball-bearing for a smooth action. Both the reel and rod work together to form a system. It is important that the reel you choose matches the rod you would be using. The best way to improve your catch is to buy a rod and reel combination.

Artificial Baits and the Challenge of Using Lures

Some anglers use artificial lures or baits that imitate preys or their (preys) morphological features like shape, flash and color. Visiting Basstrike tackle shop will help you discover that there are varieties of artificial baits regarding colors, shapes, styles and strategies. Examples of artificial baits are simple silver spoons, umbrella rigs, daisy chains, complex parachutes and feathered teasers.

Experienced anglers take different types of lure along with them when going for fishing and they try their best to cover enough water column.  To choose the right lures for fishing are very important to anglers. You may check other articles. There are many types of artificial lure but each of them falls in one of the following categories: soft plastics, bucktail jigs, jigging spoons, hard baits and trolling lures and skirts.

Types of Lures

Soft plastics: They are best used for saltwater fishing and they imitate small baitfish, minnows, shrimps and crabs that bigger fish feed on. If you want to use soft plastics, choose the forage preferred by the fish in your area.

Bucktail jigs: This particular lure has a jighead and hairs/feathers that conceal the hook. Bucktail jigs are attractive to various fish species and heavier bucktail jigs are the best for deep water. You can improve your chances of catching a fish by tipping the jigs with live bait, cut bait or shrimp. These jigs can be cast around rivers, inlets and piers.

Jigging spoons: These spoons are common saltwater lures used in the surf and from boats, and they also flap and flutter like a wounded baitfish. They are heavy, and the heaviness enables a long throw out and fast descent to the right depths.

Hard baits: This type of lure includes stickbait, topwater lures, crankbaits, and other hard baits. They can be effectively cast around rivers, inlets, canals, piers and in the surf.

Trolling lures: This particular type of lures is used for saltwater fishing. They are the best if you want to cover enough water columns and locate active fish. You should take a variety of trolling lures along with you when going for fishing.

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