When you go out saltwater fishing you are taking a risk that you don’t catch anything at all. There are some steps you can take to ensure that you catch more fish consistently over time. If you do everything on this list, the chances are very good, the probability is very high, that you will catch many more fish than you would have otherwise.
Here are my suggestions for How to Catch More Fish when Saltwater Fishing!
- Use Live Bait. In a hierarchy of what works best, live bait is best. In the ocean, Pinfish are a fantastic bait for many species, as is shrimp. Dead bait or cut bait is next. Artificial lures are generally not as good as live or cut bait. Unless we are talking about certain fish, in almost all cases you will catch more fish using live bait.
- Fish from a Boat. Fishing from a boat or kayak beats fishing from any stationary place. Fishing from a boat allows you to reach areas that can be filled with fish. Fishing from stationary places only allows you to reach what you can walk to. Fishing from a pier beats fishing from the shore because you can more easily reach deeper water.
- Fish Longer Hours. Fish Smarter Hours. Fishing longer numbers of hours will usually catch more fish. Fishing smarter hours like right before sunrise or after sunset will also see you catching more fish.
- Fish After Rain but Only When Better Weather is Coming. A great time to start fishing is when you have a rising barometer pressure. This often happens after a rain or a storm or even a rainy couple of days. However, if the barometer is not rising don’t bother to go out.
- Fish During Incoming or Outgoing Tide. You can stop wasting a lot of time by just fishing whenever you have an inbound or outgoing tide. Moving water is essential for most fish species to turn on their feeding response.
- Use More than 1 Pole – Use 4. If you were a beginning angler you won’t catch four times as many fish using for rides, but you will catch more fish. Ideally, you will set up each rod to target a different fish species. This will greatly increase your chances of catching a fish during your time out.
- Tie Almost All Knots Using the Palomar Knot. If you have to tie a hook onto a line or a swivel or a sinker or an artificial lure use the Palomar knot as much as possible. The one time that you don’t want to use this knot is when you are joining two lines together. If you just learn this one knot you will increase the number of fish you catch because it’s a very strong knot.
- Use Name-brand Fishing Line. PowerPro. KastKing. SpiderWire. Stren. For some crucial pieces of gear that you use for fishing, it’s important to use brand-name items that you can rely on. High reliability is one thing that’s going to help you catch more fish over time.
- Learn How to Use Your Drag Like an Expert. One difference that you will see between people who know how to fish and people who don’t know how to fish is that they are the people that know how to fish and are constantly adjusting their drag. Setting the correct drag is important because it tires out the fish and allows you to get it close to you so you can scoop it up with a net.
- Sharpen Your Hooks. If not using Owner, Gamakatsu, or Mustad chemically sharpened hooks then you can and should sharpen your own hooks to make them sharper. Artificial lures have notoriously dull treble hooks. Spend some time and sharpen them up.
- Use Only Gamakatsu, Mustad, and Owner Hooks. These are tried and true and have a level of quality control that is unmatched in the industry. Same with fishing line brands, go with the best brands and you’ll ultimately catch and land a LOT more fish.
- Add Small Bells to the Tips of Your Rods. Not joking. Some people might think I’m joking about this one. I can assure you that I am not. I can’t tell you how many times I set up a rod behind me on my kayak and almost forgot it was there. I have lost more fish because I was unaware that a fish was on the hook or, that I should be setting the hook. The same is true for fishing on a pier or at the beach, especially with multiple rods. A little bell can alert you that a fish has taken the bait and it’s time to set the hook or drag.
- Check Your Line and Replace at the First Sign of Abrasion. This one I have probably done only a handful of times in my life. I know I should do this after every time I fish but for some reason it never gets done. Occasionally, I do find my line has a braided and I cut off the bad part to pull out some new fresh line. This really shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be on your mind every time you’re put putting away your fishing gear.
- Add Scents. Adding something that smells like it died to your bait or artificial lure will increase the chances that fish find your offering and strike it. You might make up your own smelly stuff using an oily fish to mash into a paste. Or you can buy some already made bait juice like Gulp or something with Menhaden Oil to dip your bait or lure into before using it. This is one of the most underused secrets to catching more fish. It gets a bit messy but other than that the reward is worth far more than the effort.
- Vary Bait Depth. Many anglers will vary the location of casting but some of them want very the depth that they are dropping the beat. It is often the case that you are just throwing the Lor or your bait at the wrong depth the fish may be there and watching your bait on the top water or even on the bottom but they are in a certain temperature range of water in the thermocline in the water channel and they will not move they will wait until the bait comes within striking distance.
There are hundreds of things you can do to catch more fish but it all comes down to education. Watch some YouTube videos, read more posts on this blog, and get out there and fish more often and you will learn what you need to know.
I will tell you the one thing that helped my fishing more than anything else. After fishing for two years in Tampa Bay, Florida I finally decided to buy a kayak. A saltwater fishing kayak. Going out on the water almost daily for hours at a time really increased my knowledge about where the fish are, what they eat, and what times are best to go fishing for them.
If you have the means and the adventurous spirit, have a good think about this idea right now. It isn’t difficult to kayak and with technology these days you can have a number of backups in place so you aren’t floating out into the Gulf or mid-Atlantic on your little kayak. Mobile phones and emergency locator beacons are not that expensive and well worth the extra money.
If you have the money for a kayak, you have the money for an emergency beacon!
Another freebie tip I have for you is this. Increase the time you spend Pier Fishing. You will learn so much by just watching what people are doing next to you that it’s probably a good idea to go pier fishing for the first couple of dozen times you go fishing.
Watch and take notes. If you’re social, ask questions. Most people don’t mind and they’re actually a bit flattered to be asked. Every now and then you’ll find someone who doesn’t want to share any knowledge, but it’s rare that you find an angler like this. We’re all in this together and there are plenty of fishes to be caught in the ocean.
I hope you continue to fish for the rest of your life! I count it as one of life’s amazing gifts.