If you’ve spent your life fishing for bass and trout, you might be unprepared for a marine fishing trip. I’m sure you know that the line, rod, and reel you use at the lake aren’t up to the task of catching grouper, so let’s outline exactly what you need before you hit the boat or marina.
Your freshwater rod is probably made of graphite or a graphite/fiberglass composite. Saltwater rods, on the other hand, need to be heavier and sturdier, so many are made of fiberglass alone or a composite that has very little graphite. Fiberglass rods are considered slow or medium action. As a general rule, the stiffer the rod, the slower the action. These rods also fall into three categories: baitcasting, spinning, and trolling/gigging. An offshore trolling rod will be shorter and stiffer than an inshore spinning rod, so keep in mind that your fishing method is an essential factor when choosing.
Reels are another crucial consideration. Saltwater is incredibly corrosive, so saltwater or marine fishing reels are anodized to prevent this issue. You’ll have a choice between low and high speed, but you’ll want to match the type of reel to the kind of rod for maximum effect. For instance, an online spinning rod will have a spinning reel.
Along with a marine rod and reel, you’ll need the correct type of line. Thankfully, you probably already have it, as there isn’t a difference between freshwater and saltwater. Monofilament is the recommended type, though braided is also commonly used. There are subtle differences between the two, but it won’t make or break your trip. Regardless of which you choose, the drag should be set very low, or the line will break. Check the poundage of your current line and the recommended drag before going out. Experts recommend not trying to load your spinning reel yourself without practice, as it’s incredibly difficult, and you can easily make a mess of it. Most sporting goods stores that sell spinning reels will be able to load it for you.
As for bait and lures, there is a lot of discussion about which is best. While it heavily depends on what you’re fishing for, in general, there are four baits and five lures that will do well. The four baits are cut bait, baitfish, shellfish, and shrimp. The lures are bucktail jigs, a jig and grub combo, shallow diving plugs, topwater plugs, and spoons.
Keep in mind that if you’ve hired a charter, they’re likely to provide everything you need. This can be an excellent option to try out a few different methods, rods, and baits or lures before spending your own money. It might cost a pretty penny, but a day spent fishing is never a day wasted.