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Saltwater fishing is a pretty broad topic.  Since saltwater covers most of the earth, there’s a lot of different ways to fish these waters.

It depends on what type of fishing your going to be doing, to determine the best gear to take with you.  And there is a wide variety of techniques.  You can fly fish, fish off a pier, surf fish, fish from a kayak or a stand up paddleboard, inshore fishing in bays or in the flats, and then there is the world of offshore big game fishing like for epic marlin.

No matter which type of fishing your choose, you are gonna need gear.  The correct saltwater fishing equipment, rods and reel, buckets, nets, hooks, gaffs, trolling lures, not only makes fishing safer, it also makes it more fun.

General Saltwater Fishing Equipment

Let’s start with a few gear basics that you are going to need no matter which type of saltwater fishing you are doing.

A Fishing Net and Gaff

The quickest way to get a fish from the water to the ice box is with a gaff.  Gaffs are available in many different sizes and lengths.  You can also get a gaff made from many different materials, hook sizes, designs and there is a wide variety of different price points.

You will want a longer gaff for smaller fish that you can reach out further to hook.  You will want a shorter gaff for larger heavier species that you’ll need to get closer to the boat to hook before pulling them in.

And you’ll want to make sure that you get a quality pair of fishing gloves to better grip the handles.  All it takes is one time trying to bring in an aggressive tuna that is thrashing around and rips a gaff from your hands to know how important a good set of gloves are.

Every fisherman needs a net.

The question is what size net?  Well, it depends on what size the species you are targeting is.  The ideal net will be deep to give the fish a bit of room, strong enough to handle a fight from the fish, and if it has rubber mesh that is better on the fish if you are doing catch and release.

Saltwater Fishing Lures

Again, it depends on the type of saltwater fishing you’ll be doing as to what type of lures you’ll be using, but we will list a few of the basics here.  We will start with inshore lures, then we’ll talk about offshore.

Jig Heads

Jig heads are one of the most popular lures to use because they are simple and the work great.  They are a simple lure consisting of head (usually made of lead) and a trailer.  Fish love them because jig heads look like anything from a small bait fish to a crustacean.  Either way, the fish thinks it’s a snack!


Poppers, or plugs, are lures that you drag across the top of the water, and occasionally you quickly jerk the rod to “pop” it across the water.  The splash from the popper is what attracts predatory fish like big redfish, to take a bite.  These tend to work best in the early morning or the evening when the light is in transition.  But you can also have success with poppers in the afternoon fishing closes to marshes and grasses.

Offshore Trolling Lures

There’s a wide variety of resin trolling lures that you can get from companies that specialize in sportfishing tackle like Fathom Offshore, and again it depends on your target species.  You can pull lightweight resin head lures that are small and made to be pulled at ballyhoo speeds. These are great all around meat fish lures.

Trolling Spoons

Spoons are another great option for species like bluefish or mackerel.  The spoons produce a flashy light as they are pulled through the water in an erratic motion, which some predators just can’t ignore.

Scissors and Pliers

If you go fishing you are going to need pliers.  And not just any pliers, you are going to need pliers that can stand up to saltwater.  What do you need pliers for?  Anything and everything.  You’ll need pliers for pulling out hooks, you need pliers for tying lines, you’ll need pliers for a ton of thing you’ll never think of, but be happy you had them.

You can say pretty much the same thing about scissor that you can about pliers.  You’ve got to have them.  And while you are at it, you probably want a good knife, like a Swiss Army Knife.  They just come in handy.


It depends.  You can use anything from a fly rod, all the way up to a heavy duty trolling rod for big game fish like swordfish.  Rods can be made from fiberglass, graphite, and composite materials.

Fiberglass is the most popular widely used material for the construction of fishing rods.  ‘Glass rods are tried and tested.  The downside is that they are heavier, but the upside is they are the cheapest for the three materials listed.  The graphite and composite rods have their benefits, but they also have their price increases.

For most people you’ll be able to do everything you need with a fiberglass rod.

Here is a good video that helps describe what to look for in a fishing rod.


There are a ton of choices when it comes to saltwater reels and again, it depends on what species of fish you are aiming for.  Salt reels basically break down in to two categories, fast and slow.  The primary difference between these type of reels is that fast reels will help you to pull your bait in quickly.  Slower speed reels will give you more power, and these are the type of reels that are use by anglers going after bigger game fish.

Fishing Line

When it comes to selecting a fishing line, you want to stick to braided lines.  The reason is that braided lines won’t stretch.  You definitely don’t want a line to stretch.

The way to pick a braided line is to determine the type of strength you need.  The strength of a fishing line is referred to as “test” and it’s measured in pounds and you’ll want to choose a test that is in the neighborhood of the species you are fishing for.

If you are fishing for a small trout, you could use 4 pound test, and if you are going after bigger more aggressive species like wahoo, you’d want something like an 80 pound test.

In Summary

Saltwater fishing requires a lot of gear specific to the type of fishing you want to do.  The most important thing to take with you is Knowledge and Experience.  If you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to make much better choices in choosing what gear to take.  And if you don’t have knowledge and experience, you should hire a charter company like Costa Rica Sportfishing Flamingo to take you to the best spots to fish, to bring all the best gear, and to ensure that you have a great time on the water.