Fishing 101: Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Fishing 101: Saltwater vs. Freshwater Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back 40,000 years ago. A recreational pastime for many, this water sport is often divided up into two categories: freshwater and saltwater.


Though the actual sport doesn’t change–they both require the use of bait, tackle and fishing gear–the specifics of each vary greatly as lakes and rivers are quite different in the oceanic disposition. So what are some of the main differences?

  • Species: The greatest difference between the two that the size and shapes of saltwater fishes are significantly larger (and stranger looking) than freshwater species. Out on a lake, one might be excited to fish a 3 ft. Steelhead weighing up to 16 lbs. whereas an offshore fishing victory is more about a 14 ft. Blue Marlin weighing a hefty 1,900 lbs. Of course, the contrast between the two makes a difference in how these different species are lured in and caught. In addition, saltwater fish are riskier with their sharp teeth, poisonous spines, and lethal amounts of toxins.
  • Baits & Hooks: Though natural bait can be used in either freshwater or saltwater fishing, it’s more common for off shore fishing. Saltwater fishermen tend to use clams, crayfish, and shrimp while freshwater fishermen can often stick to artificial lures that look like small fish or worms. As you may have guessed, the hooks in seawater fishing are larger for the largest catch.
  • Fishing Gear: The durability of saltwater fishing gear is greater and must hold up to the fight that a 1900 lb. Blue Marlin can give. This is why rods and reels for saltwater fishing are much larger and are usually made of fiberglass.
  • Boats: Freshwater doesn’t eat away at your motor, boat, tackle and other equipment. Exposure to saltwater will require constant repairs, replacements, and renewing parts due to corrosion. All this makes freshwater fishing less expensive than offshore fishing.

The sea is far more dangerous in nature than bodies of freshwater, but in that may come a greater thrill. Every fisherman has his/her preference, we encourage you to test both out before deciding!

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