Bay Fishing For Dummies

Do not keep fish on a stringer, or on anything attached to you. They draw sharks and other predators. Keep your catch in a bag or container that does not allow an exchange of water. This will hold the blood, and smells in the bag and maybe not attract unwanted attention from other fish-eaters.

Never wade fish in saltwater alone. Never wade fish at night, or early morning or dusk. This is asking for trouble.  Watch out for deep holes, coral, sharp bottom debris, etc…If you get cut, leave the water immediately. Never wade barefooted or in sandals. Watch out for jellyfish and especially the Portugese Man-o-War.

They can slip up on you unnoticed, and Man-o-War stings can be very painful and serious. If you get stung, leave the water and get medical attention as soon as possible.

When walking, slide your feet along the bottom. This will give stingrays a chance to get out of your way without stinging you (maybe). If you step on one and get stung, DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THE SPIKE BY YOURSELF! Go to the Emergency Room at the local hospital and let them remove it safetly.

And one last thing: Beware the stonefish. They live all along both U.S. coasts, especially along rocky bays. THEY ARE DEADLY. If you step on one, get medical help as fast as humanly possible. They can sting you through the heaviest boots. Avoid wading in locations known to have stonefish populations.

A little common sense will keep you out of most trouble. If you notice the water appearance changing in front of you, ie: more choppy, darker water, swirls, etc…, don’t wade into it. It means stronger current, deeper water or maybe even a whirlpool or undertow. If you notice baitfish jumping clear of the water near you, leave the water. It means one or more large fish are chasing them, most likely a shark or bluefish. Bluefish will attack and bite you.

Leave the water immediately and cast to them from the safety of shore. If you notice dolphins or porpoises around you, leave the water. Most of the time, these playful mammals will not bother you, but sometimes they get moody, especially if they have babies with them. They can hurt you. It’s best to leave the water to them. After all, it is their home, and you’re just a visitor. Don’t wear out your welcome.

Happy Fishing!

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Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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