There are plenty of reasons to recommend the Florida Keys as a vacation destination, but with all those sandbars, flats and channels, if you are an angler, you are truly spoilt for choice.
Angling aficionados will happily tell you that the Keys is a saltwater anglers paradise. Whether you arrive in January in search of Redfish in the shallow flats or come in June, which is a peak time for landing a Tarpon on your line, you can plan your fishing vacation with confidence that you will enjoy some good sport, provided you have all the right gear.
If you want to be a better fisherman, you need to have certain tools and gear at your disposal. For most fishermen, this means making a trip to the local sporting goods store, or shopping online. But, before you spend any money, make this shopping list.
What to Get for Saltwater Fishing Fun
Getting A Good Rod
The fishing rod is probably the most important piece of offshore fishing gear you’ll buy. Without it, you obviously can’t fish. Modern saltwater fishing rods are made from graphite or fiberglass to resist corrosion and chipping. Graphite rods are generally more expensive than fiberglass and are a lot stronger. Most beginners find using graphite easier and lighter. However, many opt for fiberglass because of the cost.
Make sure you get cleaning material for your rod, too. All fishing rods should be wiped down and cleaned after you’re done fishing. The length of the rod you need depends on where you’ll be fishing from and whether it’s on the beach, a boat, or off the pier.
A surf rod is one that you use when fishing on the beach. It involves casting into the ocean beyond the surf. Fish that can be caught at this depth can weight up to 2 pounds, so you can get a decent catch this way. Your ideal rod will be 10 feet long.
Pier fishing rods are ones you use when fishing from a pier or jetty. They don’t need to be very long because you’re fishing right off the end of the pier.
Finally, deep sea rods are used on a boat. They are usually made of strong material, like graphite, and are reinforced because these rods are designed to catch strong and powerful fish. Rods should be between 6 and 8 feet long.
Saltwater fishing reels must be strong and able to withstand the corrosive effects of the water. Usually, beginners choose the line that makes casting easy. Spinning reels are usually recommended for this. They’re also not affected by the wind. However, they’re heavy, and they take some getting used to.
A reel of this type needs to hold 100 yards of line.
What’s a fishing pole without fishing line. You should use a monofilament line if you’ve never fished before. These lines are strong and thin. They can stretch and have low memory. This means if it’s been on your reel for a while it’s not going to mold to the shape of the reel when used. Monofilament lines do break down if they’re exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, however, so change it out every six months.
Lines usually come in colors or clear line. Clear lines are less visible to fish but they can also make it hard for you to see the line in the water too.
Working with top spincast reels will make a huge difference in your fishing as well.
You need bait to attract fish. Bait can be real or artificial. While many old-school fishers will swear by real bait, some impressive synthetics have come onto the market recently. Shrimp are the most common saltwater bait. And, live shrimps are said to be some of the best bait to use.
They can be kept alive in a bucket of water.
You can also use cut bait if you’re going deep sea fishing.
Finally, don’t forget a life jacket. While not technically a piece of fishing equipment, it could save your life out there if you’re thrown or fall overboard.
Make sure you plan your trip and have everything you need for a successful and safe fishing trip. Once you have all that sorted, head to Florida Keys any time you like, and you should be able to enjoy some great catches, whatever time of year you visit.
Rhys Francis is a travel consultant. He is also a passionate fisherman, keen to pass on his hobby and skills to a younger generation. He writes for travel, hobby, men’s lifestyle, outdoor sports blogs and more to promote his passion.