Saltwater or Freshwater?

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: December 3, 2001
To: PFIC Message Board
From: baitfish

Subject: Subject: Fresh/Salt Preference thread

Just curious to see which people prefer. I realize this is a saltwater board, but after having a great time on my last two freshwater trips, the scales have moved a little closer to freshwater. I think I will always like salt better, I am not catching stocked fish, the ocean itself, surf fishing, variety, size of fish etc... Freshwater has it's perks too, quiet, no salt and great locations! But my rod will always belong to the sea. Adam Will work for fish!

Name: CrazyGuy

My dad and I used to fish lakes exclusively. We used to go for catfish, carp, trout, bluegill, bass, you name it. When I came across this site, I told him we should try fishing at Berkeley Pier. The only other pier trips we took were to San Mateo Pier and we caught loads of Smelt and Perch. Ever since going to Berkeley, we haven't fished freshwater in over 1 year. In saltwater, you never know what you will catch. Toss out a high/low leader with pile worms and you might get perch, kingfish, jacksmelt, rockfish, and a lot of other species. Toss out night crawler in freshwater, you might get a bluegill, trout, bass, or catfish. I guess after fishing for those freshwater species for a long time, saltwater provides a LOT of variety. It gives me a chance to identify fish, which is fun. The fish are pretty tasty too.

Name: Ed

Hate to say it on this board, but if I had to choose it would be fresh without hesitation. For me, nothing beats stream or mountain lake fishing. And of course, here we have the delta that offers a thousand miles of fishing for numerous species. Most of my early memories of fishing are with my dad on freshwater so that probably has something to do with my feelings. Ed

Name: baitfish

Ditto, I fished salt with my dad when I was a kid too. We rarely fished freshwater, but I recently have developed more of a taste for freshwater fishing. (Pun intended:) Sierra trout taste wonderful! Adam Will work for fish!

Name: flatfish hunter

I prefer salt water for a few reasons. My reasons are that the fish that you catch in salt water tend to be bigger and put up a better fight. What I mean is shark, sturgeon, halibut, striped bass, WSB and the rest of the big game fish. I grew up fishing trout and I have caught so many trout that grew tired of seeing and catching them. But I would have to say that I prefer saltwater because of the bigger game fish, cant get a shark in fresh water. FlatFish Hunter, A.K.A ali

Name: stinkyfingers

Man o man. I hate to say this... but I almost turn my nose up at freshwater fishing nowadays. Just a little TOO calm for me, I suppose. Sure there are times... but - in the salt. The top reasons are:

The nature and unpredictability of the sea. The waves are ferocious and can KILL.
All life started in the ocean - must be something to it.
The salt and harsh environment remind me of the fact I’m still alive.
The variety of fish, and the fact that they can hurt you back - is nice too.
The views are unbeatable.

When I die, I will likely go into the sea, whereby my fishy friends can eat at me below. Back to the beginning, I say. Back to Eden.

Name: Ed

Oh, man...”All life started in the ocean - must be something to it.” Now you’re going to get that guy who was freaking out about God creating man all riled up again :) Ed

Name: Nopal

Not if he's a Catholic. They believe in both.Which is kinda cool. You can have your cake and eat it too.

Name: stinkyfingers

I am, indeed, Catholic. Though I do not allow myself to deny any truths that become self-evident during my life. I have a very keen sense of being aware of the world around me, the things that make it work, and the patterns that the world “tries” to show me. If an aspect of physics or spirit dawns on me, then I go with it. I follow my thoughts and trust them to lead me to the truth. I am not encumbered by my beliefs, though they do provide me with tangible means of relating a “shell” of moral guidelines when communicating with my fellow man. Yes - all life did start in ocean and will end there as well. I am not a prophet - I am merely a reporter. Now - let me get back to my cake...(mmmm - cake)

Name: Mikey

Stinky, that’s cool you're a Catholic... are you a practicing one? I’m just curious cuz I've heard you say “Jesus Christ” a few times, and cuss on occasion. (I can maybe understand the swearing a little, but saying “Jesus Christ?” heeh I dunno). Mike

Name: gyozadude

We all have our vices... and ... anyways, you can’t go empty handed to the confessional. Gotta have some sins, otherwise, there -would- be someone to cast the first stone... :) And in any event, I hear the current administration up There isn’t so picky about the rules anymore. Sure, taking the Lord’s name in vain is violation of the #2 Commandment, and having an affair with a beautiful blonde bombshell actress is a violation of the #7 Commandment, as well as the #9 (if she’s both married AND married to your neighbor) and it used to warrant assassination as a penalty as late as 1963, but since 1964 and the convening of Vatican II, I hear Moses has been redeployed up There, and He hasn’t been running the data warehouse software for nearly 40 years. Some newer kid named Jesus implemented a paperwork reduction act and simplified the rules about 2 millennia ago, and finally, the bureaucrat IT guys up There did a system cutover after Y2K, to avoid any bugs. There's just one rule now: “Love thy neighbour.” And neighbor can be defined in the broadest sense. It can mean enemy (as in Love thine enemy and turn the other cheek), or it can also mean Office Intern (as in office intern for a prominent political figure). :) - Gyozadude, “Yes - I can roll my own potsticker skins”

Name: stinkyfingers

I seldom say “Jesus Christ”, and when I do – it’s usually warranted by nature of the discussion at hand. I try not to throw it around carelessly. Also - cussing is sometimes comical, and I usually try to put in the appropriate word to put color into my posts, or conversation. Other times - I'm just disgruntled and talkin’ trash... - for those times, I have no excuses. I slip because I'm human.

Name: Nopal

We could h Plus, it could be weirder. We have people argue that we’re alien experiments or something else. Stinky, right on with that quote. Salt all the way.

Name: Songslinger

I'm partial to saltwater fishing because the local lakes and/or reservoirs are stocked, and catch rates are directly proportional to the frequency of DFG planting trucks. Also, I'm 20 minutes away from the sea, 10 minutes from San Francisco Bay, 15 minutes from San Pablo Bay, and 45 minutes from the Delta. The fish are much larger in these bodies than in freshwater lakes. But I do enjoy fishing California and Oregon mountain streams and some of the wilder lakes, where the trout are more lively and the human population somewhat sparse. **************** All I Want Is A Fair Fight****************

Name: castlebravo

I like both. I don’t have a vehicle that I would take to some of the freshwater places though. I mostly fish salt because that is what I am closest to. Shore pier jetty.

Name: mola joe

I have to go Salt too, mostly since it's at my doorstep. Freshwater is a nice change of pace, but I probably would get bored if is was the only type of fishing I could do. I love a challenge, and freshwater does have that, especially largemouth bass. I’ve had a few friends switch over to nothing but freshwater bass fishing, mainly because salt no longer held the challenge it once did. Putting patterns together and catching bass became more fun to them then just pulling on bigger fish. I have to agree to some point on that issue. I've been in many wide open tuna bites, and it takes very little talent, or even thought, to get bit. It’s more of being on the right boat at the right time to catch fish. After many years of fishing your attitude does change. You do start looking for more challenging aspects of the sport. Of coarse, saltwater does have fish that are very hard to catch, like big calicos and my favorite fish, corbina, just to name a few. Pulling on fish is always fun, but putting the pieces of the puzzle together so you do catch fish becomes a huge part of the sport, at least for me. Bottom line, I’m lucky enough to live in an area that lets me do both, so I do both. Pulling on corbina in the morning, and trolling for trout up at Big Bear Lake in the afternoon. You gota love this place!

Name: Salty Nick

I gotta go with salt, too. I agree with Songslinger, most of the lakes in this area are stocked, so sometimes it feels a little artificial (maybe they'll have a “Westworld” fishing experience soon - maybe not, you'll probably end up being harpooned by Yul Brynner or something). I like the unpredictability factor in the ocean, you never know what you might hook into. Saltwater Nick.

Name: Mikey

Good points, I’d hafta say Saltwater, cuz that's where I do 99% of my fishing. Freshwater is a great escape, but I might get tired of it after a while. Haha, good call on “westworld” – haven”t seen that movie in ages, that Yul Brynner's a crackup in it. (friggin' robots and stuff, hehe). Mike

Name: monkfish

It depends on my mood. I like the salt from boats for faster paced action and catching bigger fish plus also unpredictability as well. You could be catching little calicos and macks one minute and then a breezing school of 30-lb yellowtail come by or you tie into some monster seabass or halibut! I also like freshwater for more finesse-style fishing. I usually just fish lures in the fresh just because it's a little more interesting and challenging to catch bass and trout that way for me. There is nothing as satisfying as finally keying into a pattern for bass or a fly pattern for trout and if you fish some catch and release bodies of water, the action can be great at times.

Name: Corbinaman1

Salt! I basically only saltwater fish. Fished freshwater a few times many years ago. Had fun, but it seemed somewhat “artificial” to me catching big planted hatchery trout that fight very little... like a goldfish or something. To me freshwater fishing is like fishing at a fish hatchery... pretty artificial. I prefer fish that make “runs” after you hook them yellowtail/tuna, etc. or even corbina from the surf! Have never tried freshwater bass fishing, but it looks like fun. Also, I do agree that freshwater is the perfect place to introduce kids or newbies to fishing (saltwater conditions can be harsh). If I didn’t live by the beach, I would probably freshwater fish, but since I'm on the coast... saltwater all the way for me!

Name: pierangler8787

SALT WATER ALL THE WAY!!!! Yes actually you can catch sharks in fresh water: there are certain species of freshwater skates and there are bull sharks that live in fresh or salt. they are said to be found swimming upstream into rivers that lead to the ocean and there are some in salt lake, salt lake city

Name: flatfish hunter

Ok ok ok, your right I was wrong. I remember about the bull shark, I was studying it in marine science. But there is only one shark that lives, and what I mean is that it actually stays in fresh water. There is this one shark (4got the name) in Nicaragua and it lives in the huge lake in the middle of the country. My mom was telling me about it. But that is the only shark that I know of that lives in fresh water. Please correct me if I’m wrong again. FlatFish Hunter, A.K.A ali

Name: carlos

SALT WATER ALL THE WAY!!!! flatfish hunter, that is the bull shark in that lake in Nicaragua. I saw it on the Discovery channel and I read it in a book.

Name: Ken Jones

Need you ask? Although I enjoy fishing in all of its forms, the ocean and the critters in the briny deep offer a special attraction that makes saltwater fishing most paramount in the pantheon of angling adventures.

PS., My ashes are to be spread out into the ocean from an end of a pier — which one I don’t care at this time -- but with my luck the EPA or some environmental group will get it made illegal before that (hopefully) far distant moment arrives.

Name: Ed

Just not Pacifica, don’t want to mix with the sewage coming out of the pipe. By the way, it IS illegal to dispose of remains from a pier, at least in California. No bridges either, and not in lakes or streams. Ed

Name: baitfish

Watch that onshore flow! Otherwise what a mess. I want to be cremated and have my ashes deposited into the sea, probably from the beach, but as you said they will probably fine my wife for littering. Adam, Will work for fish!

Name: Ed
Surfers will be wondering what all the grey crap stuck to their wetsuits is. Ed

Name: Ken Jones

You do need to be 1,500 feet from the beach to scatter ashes. That means only a few piers can legally be used for the ceremony.

Name: The Fishin Magician

Something about the salt. It seems so much wilder and more harsh of an environment, yet more beautiful in a lot of ways. The fish seem more adapted and specialized and are generally much more amazing fish in my eyes. Still, the delicate beauty of a golden trout living in a trickle 6 inches deep that is covered in snow for 9 months out of the year demands a great deal of respect as well. I grew up fishing fresh, mostly LMB and some trout in the sierras. Through junior high and high school I tubed religiously at a lake near my house, fishing for bass in the summer and fly fishing for trout in the winter. Then in ‘97 my step dad took my mom and me on an overnight albie trip. I ended up winning the pot with a 40# bluefin. My mom caught its twin, but she didn't enter the jackpot thinking she wouldn't catch anything on the trip. Since then I've been hooked.

The bottom line is that nothing pulls like a saltwater gamefish. Then there's always the chance (and the odds are actually good) that you’ll hook something much larger than you expect, something that you might not be able to land. On at least 3 occasions I’ve hooked fish on plastics while bass fishing that I fought for 5-10 minutes and had absolutely no control over them (probably black sea bass). What a crazy feeling. Each time the fish made its way to rocks or kelp and broke me right off. That just doesn’t happen in freshwater. Sure you can use light line, but in the salt, this happens with heavy line. So I have to put in a big vote for the salt. More variety, more power, more quantity, more ruggedness, all in a beautiful, wild ocean. TL, Adam

Name: Albert Yi

Subject: Torn apart and yet whole. My thoughts belong to the sea with its powerful creatures and clashing, harsh yet romantic elements, but my heart belongs to the freshwater of my youth when the little boy would jump out of bed and thank grandpa for waking him up to go fishing early Saturday morning - itching to find out what would be biting under the small dock at Wahiawa Reservoir in Oahu. Aaah, the memories. - Albert Yi “Any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.” - John Steinbeck, “I drank WHAT?!?” - Socrates

Name: baitfish

I know what you mean, I live on this man made lake in Calabasas and I would fish it nearly everyday in the summer! Huge Catfish, Big Bass some bluegill, saw lots of carp but never caught one and the occasional crappie. I loved fishing at that lake, but it is private and I can't fish there anymore...DOH! Oh well, I have found surf fishing now and I love it! Something about standing on 2 feet in the water with fish swimming around you, the pounding surf and catching a fish in a foot of water! Then fighting this fish who's home is the rip currents and waves that kill human beings each year. Gotta love it! Adam, Will work for fish!

Name: Leapin Bass

One the most difficult questions I've heard. Lately I'd have to say salwater. The fish are typically bigger, more aggressive, and fight harder. Not to mention the variety. For freshwater I’ve always been more of a “small body” fishermen. I enjoy going to large lakes or big rivers every once in while but my true love is secluded small rivers and ponds - or at least ones that feel secluded. Every year we visit my wife’s family in Delaware. I float fish down the Brandywine Creek for smallmouth. The tranquility, beauty, and peacefulness of it can't be beat. Not to mention the smallmouths! So I guess for overall fishing it would have to be saltwater but when I need to “get back to nature” the type of freshwater fishing I do is tough to beat. You can't catch tomorrow what you kill today - please practice catch and release.

Name: Surfan

I love the peacefulness of a mountain stream and the solitude of a mountain lake, but for me the ocean offers much more of an adventure. So many different circumstances and so much unpredictability plus the shear power of the ocean make saltwater more exciting for me. The change of tides & water temperature, the varied habitats, combined with the sun, moon & weather, the many different species of fish & bait/lures, and the possibility of trying to catch something huge and feisty that you shouldn’t be trying to catch are what make saltwater such an adventure.

The variety of fishing experiences that saltwater offers is reflected in the many types of gear & tackle that an ocean fisherman must have at his or her disposal in order to catch the many different species of fish in many different situations. Think about all the marine biology that all of you have learned in order to just participate. Just a big old puzzle to figure out. There’s always something new to learn, be intrigued about and experience in the adventure of the sea.


Well-Known Member
Salt you have a better chance of catching more variety of fish, Fresh you catch largemouth bass and striped bass with top water lure which is unbelievably fun, I am not a soak bait kind of guy, never have and never will.


Well-Known Member
I've got nothing but fresh up here and it's epic, but after a lifetime of both, I'd agree that absence does make the heart grow fonder.
I say saltwater. I believe I'll be down there for a visit before the year is up. The smell of the briney ocean air has a magnetic draw that I imagine becomes stronger with age.
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