Many people grow up with some experience in freshwater fishing. Often baiting a hook, throwing a bobber out on to the water and sitting patiently is the extent of the knowledge needed. Saltwater fishing, however, offers different challenges and requires entirely different skills. Saltwater fishing can be difficult, but the opportunities for anglers are endless. While a lake may have a handful of desirable fish species, the ocean has hundreds.
Know the Terrain
Have complete charts of the depths and tides. Using government depth charts and other nautical maps helps you avoid hazards and allows you to target your lures, lines and tactics to the depths and tides present in the area.
While lures can be useful in targeting specific species, the hooks attached to lures are likely to dull quickly. Buying separate high-quality hooks can help ensure that you don't lose fish to hooks breaking or refusing to hold. The Palomar knot can help you attach new hooks. See Resources for added information.
Playing fish on the line is often a more integral part of saltwater fishing than in freshwater fishing. Playing fish is a bit of an art, requiring efficient capture. The longer the fish is on the line, the higher the chance of the it getting free. However, the harder you try and drag the fish in, the more likely the fish is to fight. Landing fish depends upon being quick and firm, without being jerky or too forceful.
Slow Your Boat
Stop or slow your boat to trolling speed when a fish is on the line. A moving boat can drastically increase the strain put on a fishing line, increasing the chance of the line snapping.
Once you have a fish on the line, be sure to reel in only while your rod is on a down stroke. As a fish struggles, you'll have moments of brief respite where the fish forces slack into the line. These moments of slack are when you should draw in line. Reeling in the line against pressure, when the line is already taut, makes it much more likely that the line will snap.