How To Set Up A Fishing Line For Saltwater

Yes, fishing in saltwater is a whole different story than fishing in freshwater conditions. Saltwater can be extremely harsh when it comes to damaging your fishing line and tackle.

Many people might think that it is OK to use plain old fishing line and tackle for saltwater fishing. This is just plain wrong.

If you’re using fishing gear that is not setup for saltwater fishing you are going to run into some serious issues.

Anything metal or plastic is going to degrade, metal items will rust, and fishing line will quickly deteriorate. Knowing how to set up a fishing line for saltwater fishing, as well as the rest of your fishing gear, is crucial.

You want to avoid damage, rusting, and having your line snap on you.

Keep reading as we discuss how to set up a fishing line for saltwater use.

What You Will Need to Set Up for Saltwater Fishing

You cannot use just any fishing gear for saltwater fishing, especially not gear that is designed for freshwater use.

You have to have the right line and equipment, if you expect your fishing trip to stand up to the briny conditions of saltwater. So, what do you need to set up for saltwater fishing?

  • A saltwater fishing hook
  • Ideal saltwater baits or lures
  • Saltwater test fishing line
  • Saltwater sinker
  • Saltwater ready fishing reel and rod

It is important that all gear, tackle, and fishing items you are using are designed for saltwater use. Your gear is not going to last long if you decide to use freshwater gear in saltwater conditions.

How to Set Up a Fishing Line for Saltwater: Step By Step

Alright, so now we want to provide you with a very simple and easy-to-follow guide for setting up your fishing line for saltwater use.

We will about your other gear as well. It’s not a particularly hard or lengthy process, but if you expect your gear to last, it does need to be done right.

Step 1

First, you need to choose the fishing line that is appropriate for saltwater conditions. You have to consider the weather, water conditions, type of reel, and the type of fish you are looking to catch.

You will need to choose between braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon fishing line. The line has to be designed for saltwater fishing. Spool the fishing line onto the fishing reel.

Simply feed the line through the guides of the rod from the top. Then use an arbor knot to attach the line to a reel, then use the crank to spool the line onto the fishing reel. Remember to keep the light tight as you add it to the spool.

Step 2

The next step is to choose the right kind of fishing hook, in terms of size and shape, for the type of fish you are going for.

This saltwater-ready hook then needs to be tied onto the end of your saltwater fishing line.

Keep in mind that the size of the bait being used will mostly always dictate the type of hook you are going to use. Here, you will use a simple knot to tie the line to the hook.

Thread the end of the fishing line through the eyelet of the fishing hook, wrap the end of the line around the main line 5 or 6 times, and then feed then end back through the loop you just created. Cinch it tight, and you should be good to go. You can then trim the extra line if need be.

Step 3

Next, ensure that you use the right kind of bait for your saltwater fishing journey.

Generally speaking, live bait like sand worms, shrimp, crabs and cut bait tend to work well for saltwater fishing. This does depend on the type of fish you are looking to catch. Do a little research on the fish you are looking to catch to determine the best bait.

Step 4

The next step is to attach your bait to the hook. Just string the bait with the shank and the point of the hook, and pull it through, making sure that the bait is attached tightly and cannot slip off.

The bait can come off during casting if it is not properly attached. Keep in mind that you always want to try and hide the tip of the hook so the fish does not feel it when they hit the bait.

Step 5

What you also might want to do is to thread a saltwater sinker onto the fishing line. This is because, for the majority of all saltwater fishing applications, the fish are going to be relatively deep.

The fish usually won’t be too close to the water’s surface. Ensure that your hook, baits, lures, and everything else sinks to a depth that is ideal for catching the type of saltwater fish you are after.

Be sure to do some research on the depths need for the fish you are trying to catch.

Step 6

Read and understand tide charts when fishing from shore. Most fish are caught at high tide. If you go fishing at low tide from the shore your chances of anything goes down.

Ask local fishermen about what they have been catching and the bait they have been using. Most people enjoy talking about fishing and the local knowledge will help ensure you are using the correct bait at the correct depth at the correct time for the correct fish.


This is how to set up your fishing line and the rest of your fishing gear for saltwater conditions.

We really cannot stress enough just how important it is that anything and everything that goes near that salty water is designed for use in saltwater. Freshwater fishing gear won’t stand up to ocean or even in brackish water conditions.

When you return from your saltwater fishing trip rinse all equipment with fresh water. Clean all your gear to get the most use out of it.

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