Saltwater Fishing for the First Time

29 12 2010

Saltwater Fishing for the First Time

( A Guest Post from Josh over at Something’s Fishy! )

I find that many freshwater anglers are intimidated by the idea of fishing in the ocean. Like most types of fishing , it is only as complicated as you make it. If you’ve ever fished for bass or catfish you probably have just about everything you need to get started catching fish from a pier here on the East Coast.

One of my favorite fish to catch from a pier is the Norfolk Spot. They are a smaller cousin of the Red

This Blue Crab lives over at the blog "Something's Fishy!"

Drum and are considered by many to be spirited fighters as well as excellent table fare. A seven foot medium heavy bass rod with a large reel is more than capable of handling two or even three spots at a time. Some of the ” Catfish Combo ” rods and reels sold at the big box retailers will also work quite well.

The biggest differences between fresh and saltwater fishing are the types of rigs and sinkers used. To hold your bait in place it is often necessary to use three ounce or larger pyramid sinkers. Because of this , it is a good idea to use 17-20 pound line and often a 40-50 pound shock leader. The shock leader really isn’t needed for spot fishing because the surf is normally relatively calm during a spot run and 2 ounce sinkers will be fine. You will need a rig though. Most saltwater fisherman use simple two hook bottom fishing rigs that are widely available at tackle shops near the coast. An even better option would be to tie your own out of 30 pound monofilament.

After you’re rigged and ready to go , it’s time to bait up. For bottom feeding fish like the spot there are several effective baits. Live or imitation bloodworms are an excellent choice , but they are expensive. Other good choices would be small pieces of fresh shrimp , sand fleas and cut bait. During a big run of spots it’s also possible to catch them on familiar freshwater baits like nightcrawlers and red wigglers , though personally I’ve never caught more than a few on these.

A 'mess' of Bluefish.....I think.....

When you are ready to go , pay the admission fee to get onto the pier ( no license required ) and pick out a good looking location. My favorite place is behind the inner sand bar. You can locate the inner bar by watching where the larger waves begin to break as they come in. I like to set up 10 to 15 feet behind the bar when I can , but definitely get out past it.

Casting with the heavier weights used in the surf can be difficult for beginners. I always cast underhanded from a pier  , but overhand casts will work. Just remember to cast gently or the sinker can break your line. You don’t have to cast far to catch fish from a pier and can often catch them by simply dropping your rig straight down.

Another great thing about saltwater fishing is that you never know exactly what you’ll catch. The same rig and bait can produce several different species of fish , depending on what is around on any given day. Summer Flounder , Northern Kingfish , Atlantic Croakers and Florida Pompanos are just a few of the species that can be caught from a pier. You can find out more about them here.

Be prepared for fast paced action when fishing from a pier. When a big school of fish comes through people will start catching fish two and three at a time. Sounds fun , huh?

Tight Lines!

Josh Mann from Something’s Fishy


THANKS Josh! It’s good to know that someone out there knows what they’re doing when we’re talkin’ salt water fishing! I’m looking forward to your next guest post already! ( Which I have, folks…and you’ll be seeing very soon!) Josh Mann is a saltwater angler of the highest caliber, a member of the Outdoor Blogger Network and a heckuva nice guy!

Be sure to visit his blog, Something’s Fishy to keep up with all the cool stuff Josh posts there!



As you can see, we’re not exclusively fly fishing around here. If you’d like to see your own Guest Post about an outdoor topic here at Fly Fishing the Southern Blue Ridge, just send me an email at Owl Jones’ Email
…..and I’ll take a look. If it’s something I think our readers would enjoy, we’ll put it up on the site that very same week!




One response

29 12 2010

Thanks man! I appreciate the links! Keep an eye out over on my blog , I’m getting ready to write an article that will blow most freshwater fishermans minds. Well maybe not , but it’s going to be something you’ve never seen before in a GA trout stream.

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