If you’re new to saltwater fishing it’s important to have the right boat and outfit it properly for the best experience. To help you get ready for the water, we’re breaking down the necessities for preparing your boat for saltwater fishing.
Best Type of Boat for Saltwater Fishing
Before you can get out on the water you need to be sure you’ve got the right vessel for the job. And to know which boat is right you need to know your water. If you’re fishing the flats you want a bay boat, jon boat, or bass boat. If you’re going offshore into deeper water a cabin cruiser or center console will be well suited.
Many fishermen who are accustomed to freshwater fishing may already have a trusted pontoon boat, but it’s important to note that pontoons don’t fare well in saltwater. While they’re great for lakes and rivers, saltwater corrodes the metal pontoons and will cause significant damage to your boat.
Saltwater Fishing Accessories
Once you’ve got the right boat for the area you’ll be fishing it’s time to outfit that boat with the best saltwater fishing gear and accessories.
If you’re fishing from a center console boat a t-top is the first investment you should consider to improve your boat. Not only will the t-top provide shade for the driver, but it also provides ample space for mounting rod holders, storage accessories, and more.
OEM helm seating isn’t always the most comfortable or functional - upgrading to a leaning post can be a significant improvement. Leaning posts allow you to quickly move between seated and standing positions and many include rod holders, added storage, and mounting space for additional accessories.
Rods and Reels
Quite possibly the most important gear on the boat, it’s important to have the right kind of rod/reel combos for the fish you’re hoping to catch.
Adding rod holders to the t-top, rails, or gunwale allow anglers to keep multiple rod and reel options ready for use at a moment’s notice.
Lures & Bait
Your bait and lures can make or break your fishing trip. Be sure your boat is stocked with the right bait for your desired catch or be prepared to catch live bait if needed
Eliminate the need to dig through a tackle box for hooks and tools with a hook and rig holder. These brackets provide ample space to organize rigs, prevent leads from getting tangled, and keep tools handy.
These nets allow anglers to pull their catch into the boat quickly and reduce the time a fish has to get away.
Lip grippers help to handle, control, and land fish. These grips are especially useful on low-profile boats where a net might not be necessary.
Easily and safely remove hooks from fish with a simple hook remover.
Measure your catch to ensure it’s large enough to keep.
Before you head out on the water, be sure you have all the tools you might need including long-nose pliers, braid scissors, fishing knives, and more.
The USCG requires 2 NM visibility in all directions, so having a navigation light installed is a must to keep you and other boaters safe on the water after nightfall.
A fish finder allows you to identify where fish are in the water column for more efficient fishing.
Similar to a fish finder, a depth finder allows you to understand what’s happening on the seafloor.
A trolling motor is an additional, independent motor used to make small position changes to help you get your boat in exactly the right spot to land your catch.
Outfit Your Boat for Saltwater Fishing
Now that you know what your boat needs, be sure to check out Fishmaster’s selection of t-tops and t-top accessories. And to ensure you’re completely prepared for your first saltwater fishing excursion, read our full guide to saltwater fishing basics.