a boy holding a trout near the Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas

Saltwater fishing tips for beginners

If you’re a beginner fisherman in search of some saltwater fishing tips, you’re in the right place! In today’s fishing blog, we’re going to go over a few of Captain LG Boyd’s top saltwater fishing tips. With over 30+ years’ experience fishing the salty waters of the Galveston Bay Complex, Capt. Boyd knows his stuff, so you’re in luck. While these tips are aimed more at beginners, a more experienced angler might even learn a thing or two!

Know your Limits – Literally

The first and most important tip for saltwater fishing beginners is to know the size and bag limits of the fish you are targeting. Texas Parks and Wildlife puts out an Outdoor Annual every year outlining the major rules and regulations for that year. This is a must read for anyone setting off on a fishing adventure along the Texas Coast. While you should definitely take a look at this before you head out, it might not be a bad idea to also download the app on your smartphone, so you always have a reference handy!

Gear Up

Let’s talk some tips for saltwater fishing gear now.  The first thing Capt. Boyd recommends for anglers of any level is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Not only will polarized glasses protect your eyes, they also help to minimize the glare off the water – making spotting bait and other things in the water much easier.  Some other important personal gear includes a hat, a breathable long sleeve shirt, and of course sunscreen.

Saltwater Rods & Reels

Next, you’ll want to buy a quality reel that is specifically made to be used in saltwater. This is extremely important! If you buy a reel that is not made for saltwater, whether it’s a spinning reel or a baitcaster, you will have a rusty broken reel very quickly, and no one wants that.

As far as reels go, a spinning reel is a great first reel for a beginning angler. Spinning reels typically backlash less than a baitcasting reel, so you will spend more time fishing and less time picking out a knot. Additionally, Capt. Boyd suggests setting up your spinning reel with a braided line over monofilament as braided line stretches less so than mono, helping a beginner angler feel the bite a bit easier. Some good brands of braided line are Power Pro, Spiderwire, or Academy Sports and Outdoors H2O Xpress in either a 20 or 30 pound test.  If you a little more experienced and would like to use a baitcasting reel, be sure to set it up with a lighter pound monofilament line. 

Now, let’s talk good rods for beginner anglers. When choosing a good beginner angler rod, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as there are a ton of different brands at different price points. Don’t worry so much about the brand as much as the size and action of the rod.  For beginner anglers, Capt. Boyd suggests a medium action rod in the 7ft range, setting it up with a weighted popping cork like a “Four Horsemen.”  You can use live shrimp under the cork, or if you do not want to mess with live bait, a VuDu shrimp or a Gulp bait will work great also!  Be sure and give that cork good strong pops. The sound the cork makes mimics predator fish attacking bait which will attract fish to your rig.  You can drift Galveston Bays mid bay reefs, mouths of bayous, drains, or grassy structure with a popping cork and always have a great time catching!

Bring it Home

So, you’ve caught some fish and want to head home to cook your catch. To make the cleaning process a little easier, lay the fish flat in your ice chest and cover it in ice.  Very cold fish are much easier to clean, and if they are laid out flat, you do not have to worry about trying to bend them back flat while trying to clean them. Additionally, if you are going to use a public cleaning table to clean your catch, make sure you clean the table before and especially after you are done. You do not want to ruin dinner for yourself or the next person in line!

Mind Your Manners

Proper boat ramp etiquette is another very important tip for both beginner and experienced anglers alike.  Be sure to get your boat set up and ready before you back it down the ramp and into the water. This will help speed the process up and free the ramp up quicker for the next person. Boat ramps can get crowded during peak fishing days. It’s also great to turn your headlights off so you do not blind the person trying to launch next. When your trip is over and you are loading your boat back on the trailer, pull out of the way quickly so the next person can do the same. Unload your boat once it’s on the trailer and away from the traffic of the boat ramp, so you are not blocking anyone else from picking up or launching.

Hope you have found some of these beginner saltwater fishing tips useful! Check back with us next month for some more insight from Capt. LG Boyd. 

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