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7 Tips to Make You a Better Inshore Angler

By Mikayla St Clair

When it comes to fishing, some of us started when we were little. Others have picked up the sport over time. Reeling in that big one comes from skill and a bit of luck, and specific types of fishing, such as inshore saltwater fishing, call for extra skills. If you want to boost your skillset, following these seven tips can make you a better inshore angler on your next fishing trip.

Know Tidal Movements

When inshore fishing, you need to understand how the tidal movements affect your target species. When the tide is incoming, oyster bars and mangroves become ideal spots for finding baitfish and gamefish. However, when the tide is going out, baitfish tend to drop back into passes and channels. You'll want to be in each area at the same time as the bait because actively feeding gamefish will follow the movements of their forage. Check local tide charts before heading out and track them with your phone while you are on the water.

Use Polarized Sunglasses

Ask veteran anglers, and they'll tell you that polarized sunglasses are an absolute must to stay on top of your game. These sunglasses are produced with a special lens technology that essentially works to cut through the glare created by the sun. This is perfect for being able to spot fish below the surface and to see bait and fish-holding features like oyster bars and grass beds. Just one look through polarized lenses and you'll be sold on getting a pair for your next inshore fishing trip.

Learn the Bimini Twist

A strong leader line is a key to ensuring that you don’t lose your catch mid-fight. While there are a number of different knots that you can utilize to tie your leader line, one that is highly recommended by veteran anglers for fail proof loops and double leaders is called a “Bimini twist” or a “twenty-times-around knot.” This leader knot will maintain 100 percent of its strength despite conditions, and while sometimes seen as an offshore tool, a Bimini twist is far more diverse in applications and easier to tie than most anglers think. Search out videos and practice just a bit, and you’ll be tying one in no time.

Hone Your Chumming Technique

If you want to draw gamefish into a specific area, chumming can be a good way to go. This is the practice of leaving behind a “breadcrumb trail” of bait from where the fish are to where you want them. When chumming, the amount of bait that you put in the water makes a big difference. If you put too much in right away, the fish will simply eat the chum there and never move on. Instead, try putting in smaller amounts and baiting your fish. You may have to try a few different times with different amounts until you learn just how much chum should be thrown over to attract your game fish. Be sure to check local laws, as chumming is not allowed in all waters, and allowable chumming tactics vary.

Choose Hooks Wisely

There are various styles of hooks for you to choose from. The most popular are circle hooks, J hooks, and treble hooks. For inshore fishing with bait, it's tough to beat circle hooks. These very rarely get caught in the fish's stomach, instead normally hooking fish in the corner of the mouth, and they have a high hookup rate. Some veteran anglers remove trebles from lures and replace the back one with a circle hook.

Stick to Trusted Brands

When you get to the tackle shop, it can be easy to get distracted by all the flashy new gear that is available for purchase – and by the best deals. Stick to time-tested brands. If you're new to inshore fishing, talk with experienced anglers about the brands they choose to use. Once you find a brand that withstands tough saltwater environments, stick with it for the long haul.

Clean Your Reel

Finally, be sure to clean your reel. After a day out of saltwater fishing, there is going to be a lot of saltwater residue on your equipment. This salt can corrode metal pieces and lessen the integrity of your line. A good practice to soak your reel in freshwater when you're done out on the water and dry it well. This will ensure that the saltwater gets removed from the reel, and your reel and line will stay in pristine condition for your next outing.