Clay Sustala’s Complete Guide to Saltwater Fishing

Clayton Sustala
Oct 23 · 3 min read

If you haven’t tried saltwater fishing, then you’re missing out.

As an avid outdoorsman like Clayton Sustala can tell you, saltwater fishing can take many forms, but one common trend is that it can yield fish that are a lot larger than what you’ve caught in the past if you’re a freshwater angler.

However, while saltwater fishing can be suitable for enthusiasts of all experience levels, there are some basics to keep in mind when choosing equipment and what to expect when you’re out on the water.

Gathering The Right Equipment

This is a step you can’t ignore if you want to make a proper transition to saltwater fishing.

One of the keywords to look for when shopping for a saltwater rod is “power” — this will tell you essentially how much weight the rod can handle. This can be particularly important when fighting larger saltwater fish such as bluefish, kahawai, barracuda, and many more.

The action of a rod is another important consideration, and it describes the behavior of the rod when it’s under strain. Fast action rods respond quickly when you apply force, making them more suitable for bigger game. Shorter rods will allow better leverage.

Clay Sustala says you’ll also want to consider the material the rod is made from. With a graphite rod, you might be able to more easily detect when you’ve got a fish testing your line. Because of the lightness of the material, this type of rod blank is susceptible to breaking under pressure. Meanwhile, fiberglass might be the more popular choice for saltwater fishing thanks to its flexibility and reliability even in choppy waters.

There’s also a composite rod on the market that blend the advantages of graphite and fiberglass and can handle lines rated up to 200 pounds.

Meanwhile, low-speed reels (that are matched to the rod’s rating) are sometimes more ideal for saltwater fishing as they provide more strength to outlast bigger fish.

Aside from rod and reel, you should also bring saltwater nets, pliers to cut line and unhook fish, as well as the proper saltwater knife to clean your catch. Do some research before deciding on artificial or natural bait, as the right choice depends on what kind of fish you’re going after. For example, you can use sea worms to attract halibut and cod, while squid could land you a bluefish.

Choosing The Best Approach

There are various options depending on your experience level and what you want to pull out of the water. Bay fishing is a popular choice because the water is usually calm in comparison to the open seas, and it offers up a wide variety of species including baitfish.

The next step for many trying their luck with saltwater fishing is flats fishing, which will open up access to bigger fish while still staying inshore.

Deep-sea fishing takes anglers far from the coast, up to 20 miles or more. You will also have the potential to pull out bigger specimens including marlin, tuna, red snapper, and kingfish. With this form of fishing, you can either drop your line all the way to entice fish that stay near the bottom, or you can troll a line behind a boat.

If you’re not ready to try your luck in the open water, surf fishing may be the right choice. It allows anglers to stand on the shore or wade in a bit, which is a good choice when starting out.

No matter which approach you take, Clayton Sustala reminds you to bring sunscreen, wear long-sleeved clothing and sunglasses — and have fun!

Clayton Sustala

Written by

Clay Sustala is an avid outdoorsman, family man, medical sales professional, and proud Texas Tech alumni.

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