There are few things that say “summer time” more than sitting on a sandy shore, drinking a few cold ones, and haphazardly tossing a line into the surf. If this sounds pretty ideal to you, then you’re in the right place. Explore these issues anglers face when saltwater fishing from shore to make your leisure time that much more leisurely (or challenging, if that’s what you want).
Using the Wrong Gear
Saltwater fishing, whether you’re casting from the beach or you’re waist-deep in the water, isn’t quite the same as sitting in a canoe and casting on a placid lake. One of the biggest mistakes many newer anglers make, especially when trying saltwater fishing for the first time, is grabbing their usual gear. Saltwater fishing requires a different setup with a rod and reel made specifically for saltwater fishing. Typically, this means longer, heavier rods, though the reel style will vary more depending on how you cast.
Using the Wrong Line
Keep in mind that the ebb and flow of saltwater is a bit different from either river or lake fishing. You’ll need a line that is strong enough to reel in a big fish, but going too heavy means your line is going to get tugged back and forth more by the current. Line between 15–20 pounds is a good starting point, but you may need some trial and error to figure out which option works best for your fishing spot.
Timing Your Day Poorly
When it comes to saltwater fishing, the tides can absolutely play a role in when the fish are most interested in nibbling. This probably doesn’t surprise you. For the best bites, time your excursion for the 2-hour window on either side of high tide. For example, if high tide is at noon, the prime times for fishing will be roughly 9:30 to 11:30 am, when the tide is still flowing in, and 12:30 to 2:30 pm, as the tide is rushing out. A quick search for tide times in your area will give you those handy windows. In addition to tide times, fish are more likely to feed in low-light times, so dawn and dusk are also good times to head out. Depending on your flexibility, the best way to go about it is to choose times when the ebbing and flowing around high tide coincide with dawn or dusk.
Not Watching the Water
In rivers and streams, you’d look for any eddies or current shifts to get an idea of how fish might behave. You can (and should) do the same with saltwater fishing. It’s a bit more difficult with the ebb and flow of the tide, but you should still be able to spot points where the water swirls around a submerged rock, or where the surf shows shorter breaks over a shallower sand bank. You can also use a fishing line camera to get a view of what’s happening underwater and better understand the structures you're fishing as well as better adjust for your time on the water.