Sea water fishing, more commonly known as salt water fishing and surf fishing, is a great way to enjoy the bounty the ocean has to offer without the expense of chartering a boat. But there are some things that every shore fisherman needs to know and certain equipment they need to have before taking on what's out in the deep blue sea. For instance, understanding wind, current and what type of obstacles are in the water are all things that need to be addressed. Without understanding how these factor affect your fishing success, it doesn't often matter what type of equipment you have.
Oftentimes, you'll see surf fishermen with monstrous 10- to 12-foot poles. But, unless your planning on hooking Godzilla, a standard flex 6- or 7-foot pole should do fine. The test on your reel needs to be a little higher; anywhere from 10 to 15 lb. test ought to do the trick for most fish you'll be enticing.
Any type of reel will work for surf fishing. The key lies in the size of the reel as compared to the weight of the line. If you are using a higher pound test, say 15 to 20 lbs., the spool on a standard size reel might be large enough to accommodate the line and still reel properly. If not, you'll need to get a larger open-faced style reel.
There are a number of different baits that can be used when surf fishing. Sand crabs are a favorite and should be thrown in alive if possible. Simply running a bait holder hook through the shell won't kill the crab and will keep it on the line. Beach sporting goods or pier fishing shops sometimes will sell small frozen fish like mackerel and anchovies. These can be cast in to the water to bring in yet a bigger fish, one that's edible.
In some states, like California and Florida, you don't need a license to fish off the pier or off the shoreline. It always is best if you check with the local Department of Natural Resources to find out what type of license (if any) is required for the state you're going to surf fish in. Fishing without a license fines aren't generally that stiff but why lose the money when you can check the regulations with one simple call.