Have you ever wondered what the differences are between fishing in saltwater versus freshwater? The most obvious difference aside (size of water body and mass quantities of fish), there are several general differences and variables between the two styles of angling.
Saltwater fishing variables:
Sea Birds – One of the most important markers of fish and bait in a vast ocean are diving birds. Follow the frigates! These birds soar above schools of tuna chasing bait and are large enough to be seen with binoculars from a distance. Find the birds and you are sure to find the fish.
Bottom structures – locate a reef, a drop off, or even a shipwreck to find lots of fish.
Weedlines or floating debris – Fish (particularly predatory fish like tuna and mahi-mahi) gather around surface weedlines where bait find refuge. Just be careful to avoid them when trolling and only go alongside, otherwise you will end up with a mound of sloppy bait.
Water depth or thermoclines – Differences in temperature and salinity form “micro-climates” within the environment based on depth and temperature. Certain fish will hang out in certain thermoclines. For example, sharks tend to hang out near the bottom while tuna tend to hang in the middle zones.
Bait fish – In particular the mullet runs, flying fish, etc. Saltwater anglers know they’re in for a fight when they see balls of bait fish off their bow or stern.
Freshwater fishing variables:
Time of day (tides/moon phases) – This is much more important when you are fishing in freshwater versus saltwater. Tides and sunlight (dusk and dawn) are much more pressing factors for fish feeding time when fishing fresh waters.
Bottom Structure – Essential for locating the predatory fish, such as bass, in smaller lakes. They will hide and wait for an unsuspecting baitfish to swim by before ambushing them.
Insect life – Depending upon the time of year, the insect life stages help to determine what type of tackle you should use on a particular lake.
Water temps – Depending upon the species, water temperatures determine when a fish will feed or strike out of defense.
Aside from the environmental variables noted above, a key difference between saltwater and freshwater fishing is the fight. The fight in saltwater puts freshwater to shame! A fight for your catch may last 5 to 10 minutes in freshwater, however, you could battle a fish for a good hour in saltwater. A good fight is what makes fishing so much fun!
This is an easy one. Saltwater fish are much more delicious than freshwater fish. Although there are some tasty freshwater fish, they don’t even begin to compare to Tuna, Grouper, Mahi-Mahi, Hogfish Snapper and Swordfish, just to name a few. The list of good-eating fish is a long one for saltwater.
Give us a call if you would like to discuss a saltwater fishing adventure. We look forward to hearing from you.