Saltwater Fishing

Here are a few more tips for saltwater fishing along America's 150,000 miles of tidal shoreline.

| November/December 1978

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    Catching actual fish is great of course, but saltwater fishing has so much more to offer.

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How 'bout it? Have you sampled the "harvest it yourself" seafood (clams, mussels, goose barnacles) that I described in “Clam Digging and Shellfishing”? If so, you already know that the North American shoreline—both east and west—offers a lot of good eatin' to anyone willing to go after it.

But that's just the beginning. C'mon! Call the local health department (to check the purity of the water along your favorite beach); ask the Fish and Game folks about licenses, limits, and so on; and pull on your hip boots. 'Cause now we're goin' saltwater fishing!

To help you follow along, we've prepared a Saltwater Fishing Diagram identifying each of the tasty morsels discussed in this article.

Forget Fancy Equipment

When it comes to pullin' in a passel of fish for the fry-pan, the lowly cane pole and accessories—14 feet of bamboo, some string, a bobber, a sinker, and a few small hooks—are all you really need. Of course, if you already own something more exotic (heavy surf casting rods of "state of the art" spinning reels or whatever), that's OK too. But your basic cane-pole-and-string rig can handle the job quite nicely.

The two most consistently productive types of shoreline for saltwater fishing that I've tried are tidal pool and wharf anglin'. And, since many (but by no means all) of the fish you're likely to tie into in such areas are relatively small, the fastest way to fill your stringer or "catch bucket" is by tying a tiny hook in the #6, #8, or even #10 size range to the end of your cane pole's line.

Sure, other anglers may look askance at your minuscule grapplers. Let 'em. You'll have the last laugh when you bait up with rock snails, mollusks, and little sea worms (all free and foraged from near your fishing site), and then proceed to haul in as many of the "big 'uns" as the folks using larger hooks, plus a healthy assortment of the small, tender, tasty fish that they can't catch at all.


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