Saltwater Fishing vs. Freshwater Fishing: Everything You Need to Know

Which Is Better, Saltwater Fishing or Freshwater Fishing?

Is it better to go saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing? Obviously, these represent two very different environments, with different fish available, different surroundings, and different levels of availability. But if you’re new to the sport of fishing, or if you’ve only ever experimented with one variety, you might be curious to learn more.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand all the basics of these two dynamic and independent types of fishing.

Location and Accessibility

First, you should think about location and accessibility. Saltwater fishing is usually done in an ocean or a sea, while freshwater fishing is done in a pond, lake, or river. Freshwater bodies of water have very low salinity, supporting different fish populations and different biological features.

If you live near the ocean, or your city borders a major sea, you might automatically be drawn to saltwater fishing because of its convenience; in less than an hour, you can be on the water and pulling up fish from the saline depths. But if you don't happen to live near a major body of saltwater, freshwater fishing may be your only option unless you want to travel.

Of course, there are some areas that offer abundant access to both freshwater and saltwater fishing locations, like some parts of Florida. If you live in one of these places, you might have your pick of both freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. You can also travel to one of these locations if you want to compare and contrast these experiences directly.

Types of Fish

So, what kind of fish are you going to find in each location?

This is a difficult question to answer, since the species of fish you find will depend on exactly where you are; not all lakes have the same populations of fish, and not all oceans have the same populations of fish. Even if you're a consistent saltwater fishing professional, you'll have very different experiences depending on where you are in the world.

Still, we can make some broad assessments about the types of fish that are available. For example, saltwater bodies tend to be much larger than freshwater bodies, so naturally, they have more diverse fish populations. If you're looking for a wide variety of fish to catch on a single excursion, saltwater fishing is superior.

Additionally, fish in saltwater bodies tend to be larger, more muscular, and more aggressive. With more room to move around and more access to food, species evolved to be this way. That's not to say freshwater fish can't put up a fight, or that no large species of freshwater fish exist, but as a general rule, saltwater fish are bigger.

If you're looking for a specific variety of fish, you may be drawn to freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing specifically. For example, if you like the idea of eating a trout or griper, you're only going to be successful when freshwater fishing. Saltwater fishing will introduce you to tasty species like tuna and salmon.

Skill Level and Intensity

Most of the hardest fish to catch are saltwater fish, because they’re bigger, stronger, and more likely to put up a fight. Because of this, most experienced anglers love the idea of saltwater fishing, at least occasionally. Saltwater fishing represents a challenge and a true test of your skills, so if you have a competitive spirit or you just want to see what you're made of, saltwater fishing could be for you.

Of course, many people prefer freshwater fishing specifically because it doesn't offer as much of a challenge most of the time. You can find some challenging fish in freshwater bodies, but you'll also find smaller, much easier to catch fish. If you're a beginner just getting started, freshwater fishing could be right for you.

Gear Required

If you're saltwater fishing, you're going to need more gear and a wider variety of gear. Remember, saltwater fish fight harder, so you're going to need stronger rods. And because saltwater fish come in so many varieties, you're probably going to need to learn to fish in many different ways. With freshwater fishing, you can probably get by with the basics.

Finding the Best Spot

How do you find the perfect spot to fish? Some people return to old spots because of their past experiences. Some people use a fish finder. Some people don't care about fish populations and just want to get away from people to enjoy some time alone.

For the most part, saltwater fishing is going to give you much more flexibility on finding the perfect spot. Freshwater bodies tend to be smaller and heavily populated, especially around popular fishing locations. But on the ocean, you can keep going until you find an open space where nobody else is around.

Deciding What’s Right for You

So, which is right for you? Ask yourself these questions.

  • What’s nearby? If you feel like traveling, both options are available to you. But if you want to stay close to home, you need to think about what's around. How long would it take you to get to one of these bodies of water?
  • What kind of equipment do you have? Do you already have fishing equipment? Or do you have a friend or family member who has access to equipment? Saltwater fishing gear can be a heavy investment, so if you have no gear, freshwater fishing could be a better place to start.
  • How familiar are you with fishing? Inexperienced anglers should probably start with freshwater fishing, though there are some easy fish you can start with in saltwater environments.
  • What are you trying to achieve? Think carefully about your fishing goals. Are you looking for a challenge? Do you want to be alone with your thoughts? Are you looking for a specific variety of fish so you can have a delicious meal later? Freshwater and saltwater fishing each have strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

Are you ready to dive deep into saltwater fishing? Or do you feel like more of a freshwater fishing person? Either way, we’ve got you covered. At TheYachtMarket, we have thousands of new and used boats for sale – some of which will be perfect for whatever your fishing goals happen to be. Browse our selection today!

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