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Fishing Tips: Freshwater & Saltwater Fish
Before catching fish, anglers must locate them. Much of North America is within a day’s drive of the oceans, an estuary, or some other marine environment. You can find fish nearly anywhere there is food, oxygen, and cover. If you have a boat, your choice of fishing locations gets even larger.
Where Fish Live
Not all fish can live in the same kinds of waters. Different species need different sets of environmental conditions, including:
- Hiding areas, cover, structure, and the bottom
- Dissolved oxygen
- Water temperature
- Types and amounts of food
- Tides and currents
- Water depth
Salinity and Oxygen
The Benefits of Using a Boat
Choose the Methods that Suit You Best
- Knowing which angling approach to use, and when to use it, is critical to having a successful day on the water. Locate a good tackle shop and ask a lot of questions. Buy a good chart of the area and study it for cuts and channels, holes or humps, all the good places that might hold fish. Maybe even hire a guide. A day spent fishing with a guide is one of the best ways to improve your technique.
- Once you find the fish, getting them to bite your hook becomes the challenge. Each of the various types of fishing lends itself to catching certain kinds of fish. Surf fishing usually lands a good variety of species, without the need for an ocean-going boat. Most any healthy beach can offer good surf fishing, but pay particular attention to rocky beaches, rock jetties, and fishing piers. A typical surf fishing setup matches an 8 or 9 foot rod and reel with 14 to 20 pound test line, although longer rods make longer casts. For many anglers, however, pier fishing can be the best possible way to spend the best possible day. Some piers stand over or near reefs or underwater structures that shelter numerous residents and draw schools of migratory fish. Pier fishing is a relatively comfortable way to introduce children to marine angling as the piers attract many smaller fish for the kids as well as larger species for the adults. Many piers also have the amenities and facilities families enjoy.
Trolling and Chumming: Effective and Enjoyable
- Either inshore or offshore, trailing lures or baits behind a slowly running boat enables anglers to cover a lot of water. Trolling is particularly effective for fish species that regularly feed on smaller fish. Outriggers--long extension spreaders--carry multiple lines out beyond the sides of the boat and enable trolling several lines at once. When a bait is struck, its line snaps free of the outrigger, to be played with a shorter, sturdy boat rod.
- Chumming involves ladling out dollops of ground fish, chopped clams, offal, or other natural attractors into the water to draw feeding fish. In some instances, the chumming forms a trail through the water that fish will follow for some distance. Chumming can involve a special-purpose, easy-to-clean grinder set up over one rail, or simply a bucket of chopped bait and a big spoon.
The Challenge of Fly Fishing
The Best Times to Fish
Picking the Best Season
Some species and some venues may also have times of the year when it is illegal to fish. Many states have closed seasons when various species are spawning. Successful anglers understand how all the factors affect their chances of catching a particular species.
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- Codes of Angling Ethics
- Fishing With Kids
- Where Do Fish Live?
- Freshwater & Saltwater Fishing Tackle
- Fishing Tips - Rod Storage
- Fly Fishing Boats
- What’cha Eating? Bait Matrix
- Ten Tips for Clean and Green Boating
- Fishing Tips from the Boating Guy - Video
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- Saltwater Fishing Boats - Find a Fishing Boat at DiscoverBoating.com
- Saltwater Fishing Tips - Boating Information for Saltwater Fishing
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- Big-Game Fishing Equipment
- Saltwater Fishing Boats
- Saltwater Fishing Gear
- Saltwater Fishing Tactics Overview