If you’ve only gone fishing on fresh water, then it’s time you tried ocean fishing.

You’ll need some saltwater fishing gear, and access to a boat. Offshore fishing boats aren’t that hard to find, and you can rent a boat or join a group through charter fishing.

Salt water fishing is a lot of fun, and there is a lot to learn. You might even take a vacation where you join several different ocean fishing boats to try different types of fishing.

4 Helpful Ocean Fishing Tips

For your first saltwater fishing trip, you want to make sure you get the most out of your fishing with the least amount of problems and hassle. Here are some tips:

1. Be Respectful of Other Boaters and Fishermen

Be friendly. Don’t be a jerk. This applies not only to before you get on the boat but after you are in the boat. In the marina, you can get lots of great tips from other fans of fishing by being nice and respectful.

On the water, make sure you understand the rules of maritime navigation, right of way, and etiquette. Don’t power in front of sailboats and make them eat your wake. Sailboats can’t maneuver as quickly as motorboats, and this is why they have the right of way.

How should you pass a fishing boat? Very carefully, especially if they have lines in the water. Give them a wide berth.

Crabbers and others who are putting pots down typically have buoys to indicate where the lines are. Steer clear of those small buoys. You don’t want the lines getting caught up in your propeller or engine.

2. Make Sure You Are Up-to-Date on Environmental Laws

You will need to make sure you can fish in the area you want to fish in, and that you are allowed to catch those fish. Fish may be subject to quotas as well. While this can affect commercial fishing boats much more than an individual, you should still check to be on the safe side.

The idea that once you are in “international waters” you can do what you want is a myth, by the way.

This means you can’t just go out on your boat, throw your garbage overboard and blithely dump your bilge water and waste wherever you want.

3. Get the Proper Ocean Fishing Gear

You can’t use the same flimsy fishing rod on the open sea that you use in a small freshwater creek. Ocean fishing requires special fishing rods, lines, gear, bait, and lures. Depending on the fish you want to catch, you will have to obtain the proper kind of fishing bait or use specially designed lures.

Ocean fishes can be large, heavy, and fast. Sailfish can achieve speeds of up to 68 mph. Bluefin tuna can be massive. The largest bluefin tuna ever caught was a staggering 1,496 pounds.

Roosterfish may not be as large as the bluefin tuna, but 110 pounds is still nothing to sneeze at. Tarpons, while not the best-tasting fish around, are extremely fun to catch. They can weigh upwards of 280 pounds and be 4-8 feet in length.

There is even a supremely fast fish called, appropriately, the wahoo. The wahoo can travel at speeds of 15 knots, which is 17.26 miles per hour for you landlubbers.

As you can see from the variety of fish you might find in the sea, you really do need strong gear that is prepared to handle the ocean-going monsters that you might hook with your fishing rod.

4. Learn as Much as You Can Before You Go

If you have only fished in ponds, lakes, and streams, and you have craved for more challenge and excitement, you’ll love ocean fishing. Salt water fishing is thrilling in a way that lake fishing can never be. You’ll need strategy, ingenuity, cunning, and strength to be a good ocean fisherman.

Take some time to learn about the hobby first before venturing out. Get familiar with the types of fish you will be targeting, the area you will be fishing in, and the rules and regulations of the locale. If you will be driving your own boat (even as a rental), consider taking some boat safety classes first.

Ocean Fishing Is Challenging, But Worth It

You will find that handling a 100-pound fish on a hook is a far cry from the small fry you pulled out of your local lake. But once you land your first marlin, you’ll be hooked on ocean fishing. With excitement, fresh sea air, and sunshine, ocean fishing is a great way to spend a vacation this summer.

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