When most anglers think of saltwater fishing, images of massive marlins and colossal groupers tend to come to mind. While those are popular fish to target, they’re difficult to actually catch.
I’ve made a list of 5 saltwater fish that beginners and intermediate fishermen can easily start their saltwater adventure with. Before heading out to catch any of these, I highly recommend buying a reel that is made for saltwater fishing. As a line is reeled in, it brings in water, and saltwater will easily destroy reels that aren’t made for saltwater fishing.
Easy To Catch Saltwater Fish
Trout are most commonly fished in mountain streams and other freshwater areas, but certain species can be caught in saltwater, too. They’re a lot like their freshwater counterparts, and the same methods can be used to catch them with a few exceptions.
The waves along beaches tend to be a bit more harsh than those at lakes and ponds. So, it’s important to adapt rigs and strategies to accommodate those harsh waves. The typical lures will work, and a medium rod is fine, but it’s a good idea to outfit your rods with high-end reels that are corrosion resistant.
Being able to cast further out is key to fishing for saltwater trout. The waves will drag lures all over the place, and weights aren’t typically used for trout fishing. So, there’s nothing keeping the line in place. Otherwise, it’s basically the same as freshwater fishing.
Fishing for flounder requires a little research. Flounder are migratory fish, and they won’t be in the same spots all year long.
During the spawning seasons, flounder tend to huddle up in estuaries where they can lay their eggs. In the warmer seasons, they migrate as far out as 30 miles from shore. The babies will still be in the estuaries, but reasonably sized fish will have already left the estuaries by summertime.
To catch flounder, it’s best to use live baits. Mullet is a popular option, and so are different types of shrimp attached to a jig. The mullet method requires a rig similar to catfish. It typically requires a heavy sinker, a circle hook, and a piece of raw mullet. It’s fished the exact way that a catfish rig is. It is important to user heavier line, though. Saltwater is filled with large species, and it’s not always going to be a flounder biting your bait.
Using a jig and shrimp is a lot like fishing for bass or crappie. I recommend chucking the jig, and then you should bounce it back to shore. If you’ve ever been freshwater fishing for bass, I don’t think you’ll have any problems snatching up a few flounder with this method.
Experienced fishermen might be surprised to see the wahoo fish on this list, but it’s here for a reason. The fish requires a relatively fast boat to reliably catch, but it’s not that difficult to catch with the right equipment.
Wahoo is a type of mackerel, and it’s extremely fast. A fully-grown wahoo can reach speeds of 60MPH. They also have very sharp teeth, and they can grow to be well over 100 pounds.
To catch these beasts, all you have to do is go trolling with a plug bait. I recommend trolling at a fast speed, and you should probably keep your lures closer to your boat than usual. It’s also imperative to use thick wire for line. Wahoo can easily rip through mono line, and they’re notoriously good at stealing baits. However, they’re not afraid of boats, and they bite anything that moves quickly. So, they’re easy to catch when you use wire line and a fast boat.
Redfish are a lot like bass that frequently hit natural baits. They put up a great fight, and they attack nearly anything that falls within their range of preferred foods.
These guys can live anywhere near the coast, and their location determines what they’ll eat. In my experience, it’s best to use shrimp, minnows, and small crabs when fishing the shoreline. If they’re further out, the bait has to be larger. Small mullet, pinfish, and other commonly used baitfish are great for fishing redfish in deeper waters.
Besides a corrosion resistant reel, there isn’t any fancy equipment necessary for catching redfish. They can easily be caught on medium rods and medium-strength reels. These guys bite as quickly as bass do, though. So, it’s necessary to always watch the line or bobber to ensure that a redfish isn’t running off with your bait. They feed very quickly, and mere seconds can cause you to lose this fish. Other than that, they’re easy to catch.
Tarpon are a lot like bass on steroids. They put up a struggle, they can break equipment with their leaps and dives, and they look magnificent when they maneuver. However, they can get to be almost 300 pounds.
If I wasn’t talking about saltwater fishing, there would be no way that I’d include a massive fish on this list. However, these are commonly caught by beginners and pros alike.
Tarpon have sharp teeth, and they can cut lines. So, it’s necessary to use durable lines to catch them. They can also grow to be quite large, and their weight needs to be considered. It’s best to use heavy equipment and powerful hooks. Tarpon can be caught all around the Florida coast, and they behave a lot like super-bass.
It’s important to know that tarpon are only allowed to be captured for sport, and they must be released unless you have a license to keep them. They’re so popular with sports fishermen that Florida has had to heavily regulate tarpon fishing practices. Besides that, they have very small bones that hide within their flesh. So, they’re difficult to eat anyways.
These are the 5 fish that I think every angler should start out with when they move up to saltwater fishing. A couple of them can get quite large, but they aren’t as dangerous to catch as the most popular saltwater fish. Before catching any of them, I recommend checking local fishing laws. Tarpon can only be captured and released without a special permit, and other permits are required for some of the other fish on this list.