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  • Writer's pictureDustin

How to DIY Saltwater Shore Fish

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

DIY saltwater shore fishing for permit
DIY Saltwater Shore Fishing for Permit

I have had a blast over the years exploring new bodies of water while on destination trips. I’ve been to the east coast, west coast, gulf, and islands with a rod and reel in my hand. I have flown with my gear and I have driven, but no matter my mode of travel, I always come prepared for a few fishing adventures.


Planning is the first step in any trip process and DIY saltwater fishing trips are no different.

DIY shore fishing bonefish on the fly
DIY Bonefish on the Fly

Look at a map and figure out what areas of water will be accessible to you. Focus on access (public vs private) and regulations (what do you need to fish there). If you are planning a trip within your state or country, you can simply look up that state’s regulations and probably pre-purchase the required licensure online before you depart. If you are fishing out of the country, you will need to figure out their structure and if they enforce it (specifically the Bahamas). Only you will know what your schedule and budget will be on your trip so factor in any guides or travel expenses if they are applicable to your situation. Oftentimes you can catch a bucket list fish right on your hotel’s beach. I have done it and you can too!

What to bring:

DIY destination fly fishing
DIY Destination Fly Fishing

I typically like to pack in a minimalist fashion. I will do some internet research on the areas I intend to fish and then try to pre-order any necessary lures or gear. I also typically travel with a fly rod for these trips. Fly rods pack down a bit better and offer some great fun DIY surf fishing from shore. With a spool or two, you can cover almost any depth of the water column and present small life like flies. However, if you can bring spinning gear and find live bait (often shrimp), then you will almost certainly catch something. As for my fly patterns I typically research these as well. I will make phone calls to outfitters or retailers and inquire about general colors or sizes that have been working. I like to always have some carp flies with me because they will look like shrimp or crawfish and can be used in almost any body of water to catch fish. Also, they are typically weighted which is helpful for dealing with currents while saltwater shore fishing. If you don’t have carp flies, don’t worry. Almost any colored woolly bugger will work nicely. You will also want to bring a couple of small spools of 10, 15, and or 20 lbs. fluorocarbon fishing line. You can hand tie your own straight leaders and they will function just fine while casting without having to spend a fortune on individual packets of leaders. Just use double overhand knots to create a loop on one end and use a loop to loop connection to your mainline.

I like to pack breathable SPF fishing shirts along with board shorts or pocketed swimsuits. I also pack a hat, polarized sunglasses, and some sort of waterproof shoe or sandal. The sun protection is essential, and your feet will thank you if you accidentally find some shells, crabs, stingrays, or whatever else the ocean may have buried in the sand. Another great two pieces of gear would be a floating fish gripper (saltwater fish don’t always play nice) and a medium to long length hemostat (travels better and carries lighter than needle-nose pliers). Get the kind that has cutting edges (scissor function) and you are all set.

Now that your gear and plans are set, just add water and fish. Some of the most relaxing, simple, and fun fishing I have had in saltwater have been right out my back door without ever having to leave the hotel property.

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