You may have heard about the thrill of catching a redfish on a topwater lure or the joy of jigging for pompano off of the beaches, and now you’re ready to give inshore fishing a try. That means it’s time to plan a trip to a saltwater inshore spot in Florida, Texas, Louisiana or South Carolina where you can target species like redfish, trout or pompano.
Just remember, you will have a much better chance at success if you have the right tackle you need to get the fish to the boat. If your line weight or tackle is too heavy, you won’t be able cast your baits or lures out far enough to get into the strike zone. If your tackle is too light, you will have a greater chance of losing a fish.
Here is a list of suggested saltwater inshore tackle essentials that you don’t want to be without:
1. 7-foot, medium-action spinning rod rated for 8- to 15-pound line paired with a medium-action spinning reel. Most inshore saltwater anglers prefer a 7-foot rod since the extra length makes it easier to get more distance on each cast. This is especially helpful when you need to avoid spooking the fish in shallow water situations.
2. 15-pound-test braided line. Braid is a good choice for inshore fishing on the flats or in the backwaters since the thinner line diameter will enable you to cast farther and get more line on your reel. Braid also tends to hold up better when coming into contact with barnacle-covered mangrove branches, oyster bars and dock pilings.
3. Circle hooks in 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0 sizes. Circle hooks are the best type of hook to use when fishing with live or cut bait since the shape of the hook will cause it to slide back through the fish’s mouth to the jaw, reducing your chances of gut-hooking the fish.
4. 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader material. Fluorocarbon refracts light when under the water, which makes it nearly invisible to the fish. Plus, fluorocarbon is extremely abrasion resistant, so it’s a wise choice for situations when you are fishing near structure such as mangroves or docks.
5. A torpedo-shaped topwater plug such as a Zara Spook or Skitter Walk. Try using a “walk the dog” technique with a topwater lure during lower light conditions such as dawn or dusk to attract a redfish, snook or trout.
Now that you know what tackle essentials to use when saltwater inshore fishing, make sure you know how to tie strong fishing knots, and rig your lines properly so that the “big one” doesn’t get away.