New to the wide world of saltwater fishing? You’ll want to take several factors into consideration before you head out on your maiden fishing trip in the ocean. Saltwater fish are found wherever there is plenty of oxygen, food and cover for them to hide from predators if ambushed. Not all fish are the same; some tolerate wildly different environmental conditions than others do.

No matter whether you’re looking to catch big tuna, redfish, trout or flounder, you should get yourself familiarized and up to speed with the basics behind saltwater fishing. The fine folks at Norfolk Marine are here to help you get ready for your next excursion and we have all the info you need, conveniently assembled in this list of tips for saltwater fishing.

Tides & Location

Different types of fish can handle wildly varying amounts of salt or salinity in water. Some fish can’t deal with high salinity while others need it to survive. Other types are capable of surviving in either saltwater or freshwater. Fish also like to stay in areas that provide them cover from predators, such as rocks, logs and aquatic plants. Not only can they hide here, but they can also use these places to stalk out their own prey without being seen.

If you’re new to saltwater fishing, you should try it on a public pier before you venture out on a boat. Most public piers provide free access to the ocean, allowing you to fish close to the shoreline. Others are long enough that you can walk out to the end and maybe find some larger species of fish in deeper water.

Something else you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re saltwater fishing is tidal movement. Tide conditions impact almost every saltwater fishing venue. To increase your success when angling, take advantage of shifting tides whenever you can. Arrive at your desired location an hour prior to the peak of high tide. To get the best freshwater fishing experience, you should keep fishing for another half hour after high tide peaks.

Gear & Tackle

It’s important to note that saltwater can be very corrosive and damaging for your fishing gear if you don’t take time to maintain it well. Salt accumulates very quickly and accelerates corrosion, producing rust that will weaken metal. This means your reel, hardware and line guides on your rod could all rust very quickly and become useless. Avoid this by washing your rod and reel with fresh water from your garden hose every time you come home from saltwater fishing. You can also spray your reel with a silicon-based lubricant like WD-40 after you wash it to further protect it.

Saltwater tackle is generally much hardier than the tackle used for freshwater, but you’ll still need to be diligent about keeping your tackle functional. For beginners, we recommend you start out with a high-quality, medium-weight spinning combo. If you’re already a professional when it comes to casting a conventional reel, then you might want to go with a high-quality saltwater reel and rod instead.

Fishing Lures

Plenty of intermediate fishers are familiar with natural bait. But you can also make use of artificial bait if it’s presented in an enticing way. You can catch plenty of great fish with fishing lures when saltwater fishing and there are a number of options available when it comes to types of lures as well as their general design. Some are hard baits like plugs, spoons or poppers, while others are soft baits like plastic swimbaits, slugs and grubs. Modern technology has resulted in biodegradable soft bait options that incorporate pheromone scents to provoke a feeding frenzy in fish! The type of bait you use is your choice, but know that lures are a perfectly viable option if you don’t want to use fresh, natural bait.

Need a boat for your next fishing trip? Visit our location in Norfolk to see our huge inventory of new and used fishing boats for sale, including boats that are meant specifically for saltwater fishing! Norfolk Marine also serves the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia.