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Inshore Saltwater Fishing Gear & Tips | With The Salt Strong Brothers

Inshore Saltwater Fishing Gear & Tips | With The Salt Strong Brothers
May 5, 2021

What gear do you need for saltwater fishing? More importantly, what gear do you NOT need. There are all kinds of products out there that are designed to catch more fisherman than fish. The Salt Strong brothers, Joe and Luke Simmons came to Gearbox Talk to share the craziest thing they’ve purchased that literally made zero difference in their performance, the gear you might be overspending on, the most misunderstood part of saltwater fishing, the go-to rod and reel combos for beginners, and they'll answer the question "should beginners, hire a guide or go it alone?".

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The Salt Strong Brother's & GoWild Recommended Gear



Daiwa Fuego LT Spinning Reel

If you are looking for an amazing reel packed with high-end design and technology features then the Daiwa’s Fuego LT may be the reel for you.

Shop Now

Rapala Classic Fillet Knife
With over 40 million sold to date, this knife is used in more fishing camps, on more charter boats and by more fisherman than any other fillet knife in the world.

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ZMan DieZel Minnowz
Fresh- and saltwater anglers alike will find that the DieZel MinnowZ's hook slot and split dorsal fin provide easy weedless rigging and problem-free hooksets.

Shop Now


Owner Weighted Beast Soft Bait Hook
Beast Hooks with TwistLOCK® Centering-Pin Spring (CPS) are designed for weedless-style rigging of larger plastics like big swimbaits, flukes, tubes and creature baits.

Shop Now

GoWild Fishing Shirt
The GoWild Fishing Shirt shows off your passion, and lets folks know that no matter where you are, you'd rather be wettin' lines in the wild. 

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DSG Outerwear DSG Fishing Wave Shirt - UPF 50
All DSG Outerwear's apparel is designed by women with input from women fisherman and backed by a woman owned company!  This shirt has UPF 50+ sun protection and that is the highest rating on the ultraviolet protection factor scale.

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The Redfish Book: A Complete Anglers Guide (Inshore Series) 

The Redfish Book is an essential part of the library of any sportsman who pursues channel bass throughout the southeast. 

Shop Now

Video Transcription
Brad: today's episode will leave you saltier than a key west margarita rim because we're talking to joe and luke simons the founders of salt strong i love this story these guys were making fat stacks in finances and they said screw it we'd rather fish they quit their fat cat jobs and they set out on a mission they wanted to equip anglers with tactics and gear to help them catch more saltwater fish and they're doing this through on-demand fishing reports tactics trends and this really cool online club through the saltstrong brand these guys are basically the consumer reports for inshore saltwater fishing they don't take sponsorships and they only recommend gear that they have personally tested today jacob knight is back with the freshwater kentucky waterfall he's gonna help host the show and together we're gonna ask joe and luke about the craziest thing they purchased that literally had zero impact on their performance gear you might be overspending on the most misunderstood part of saltwater fishing the go-to rod and reel combos for beginners and this question beginners should you go it alone or hire a guide we're gonna link to all this gear in the show notes if you click the link and you buy the gear we'll make money if we make some money we're gonna donate it back into a non-profit that's helping to teach kids to fish so you can shop guilt-free just think of the kids all right let's get after this is gearbox talk with joe and luke simons meet the industry's widest variety of game-changing ammunition however you shoot and whatever you hunt fortune favors the prepared find your federal premium advantage today all right joe and luke from salt strong welcome aboard the gearbox talk guys how's it going

Joe: what's up guys good to be here

Brad: i normally bring jacob along for hair support but actually luke's bringing a pretty good due himself today i'm follicly challenged so i give jacob a hard time about his kentucky waterfall but luke i'm glad to see you sporting some some good facial hair and long hair as well um all right guys i love it we're going to dive right in as normal with the show joe we're going to start with you man you know with fishing gear hunting gear hiking gear anything like whatever you're into it feels like you can go over the top with gear you guys see and test a ton of gear and i'm just kind of curious to start this off with a little bit of a fun question what's the craziest thing you've purchased thinking it would help you catch more fish but it didn't make like the least bit of difference like where have you put budget to and totally regretted

Joe: i'm holding it in my hand right now my friend this is an $800 3000 series spinning reel like the same thing you can go catch small little trout with and it was one of those that it just caught my eye and i was like well maybe this maybe this will help this time and uh this was a long conversation with my wife uh and i mean so to put in perspective the type of reels that we normally using are a bucks maybe $150 maybe $200 and this is 800 this is the daiwa exists for anyone wondering and uh it was it was one of my best worst purchases ever it creates conversations but it has not helped me catch any more fish

Brad: did it come with like a hot stone massage at that price point or

Joe: it did come with a lifetime warranty that's how they get you you know same with you know some of the orvis and other things that are a little bit more costly uh it has that going for it so

Brad: all right that that's better than stone massage really uh luke what about you man

Luke: yeah i'll say the the fish call so this was a product that came out a while ago i've had hesitations and what it is it's a it's a device it was on shark tank actually but it's this thing that floats and actually makes noise to call in to call in fish and it has like scared shrimp feature it had uh something for like uh bait fish feeding frenzy or whatever and you hit the buttons and it starts making these weird noises and it was a total bust it was like a hundred bucks um and we just did it for fun yes there's like a three percent chance that would have worked um turned out it didn't but um

Brad: like not not the slightest bit of noticeable difference

Luke: if anything it was a detractor we actually tested it at a spot where people feed snook shrimp and we used the scared shrimp device and the snook took off

Joe: they bolted

Brad: oh man

Jacob: so i i'm a tackle addict i spend a lot of money on gear brad asked me questions about sending boxes to the office so my wife doesn't know

Brad: so that's true i did there were so many boxes showing up i was like listen man i don't want to pry but are you hiding something from the wife

Jacob: there's worse things so you know if we start looking at uh places people spend money so luke i'm curious where do you send see people spending too much on something or too little on the gear that they're looking at for salt

Luke: well joe's the perfect example right reels so reels by far is number one i used to do it we all do it the reels get they get promoted the most um and for spinning reels in particular they actually aren't nearly as important as the rods so the rods do the casting the rods feel the strikes the rods set the hook all the reel does the reel doesn't do anything until you hide your hook fish in the real basically this helps manage the line and provide drag so uh so for now i spend way more on my rod and way less on my reels compared to what i did before

Jacob: yeah joe you in line with that is there something different you think

Joe: absolutely and man i can't tell you how much money i spent on those reels and and some of it's you know from the tackle stores they do these combos right you guys have heard that a rod and reel combo and they're basically finding a way to kind of discount uh one of the two to give you something kind of free on the other end are really cheap and um i mean like i would say my best advice is don't ever buy a combo unless it's for your kit like because the rod luke just nailed it the rod is doing all the work the line is basically just a mechanism to bring line in and out i mean the reel is otherwise you're gonna end up spending eight hundred dollars that has i'm afraid to use it because if if i lose it i lose my lifetime warranty so i'm just sitting here with it like petting it and sleeping with it i don't even use the thing enough

Brad: i like that um all right we're gonna come back over to luke here for this one um i'm kind of curious luke what does what do you think's the most misunderstood part of saltwater fishing for beginners you know our show we're really trying to help people learn and you guys are talking to a ton of people on a range of different skills and and you've seen um you've seen seen it all so i'm kind of curious like what are the trends that you see that where there's the most misunderstanding for people who are trying to learn saltwater

Luke: i'd say the biggest one is thinking that it's a whole lot different than fresh water fishing we're doing inshore fishing and so i grew up bass fishing i was a total bass addict i subscribed to all the the bass you know all the bass magazines as a kid lived on a lake so fish like literally every day i was die hard that's all i did and then once i started starting inshore fishing i was changing my gear up i was going to much bigger stuff and and then eventually once i started learning inshore fishing now i'm going back to my bath stuff i'm actually using bullfrog louvers like literally my same exact lures and that's working great for snook redfish and trout they're they're actually surprisingly simple they're ambush feeders they're pretty aggressive and it's a lot of times just use your bass stuff i still haven't had much luck on a plastic worm but like the actual bait fish imitators and topwaters all do surprisingly good for saltwater so a lot of it just don't overthink it

Brad: i like that joe what about you yeah

Joe: i'll add to that i think what happens is people get in as is as beginners newbies whatever you want to call them and they they hear about tides which is different than fishing in a ponder lake and they're like oh my gosh end of the day it's two things just like a largemouth bass they want structure right and they won't bait like if you just focus on those two things like i maximize the structure and maximize the bait you're going to find some predator fish like redfish and speckled trout and snook and flounder and i know it gets a little bit more uh detailed when you start talking about ties but if you just take everything else away and focus on those two things you're going to have some success

Brad: that may actually be the answer to this next one joe we'll stay with you for this i'm kind of i was going to ask you you know we kind of asked you know the most misunderstood part but i want to also ask you guys like your best advice and maybe this is for conquering that but joe since uh since we're already talking to you about this what's the best piece of advice you would give yourself as a young saltwater angler you know think back to you guys little joe didn't know nothing you know what would you tell yourself back then to help you get started quicker

Joe: i'd say number one grow a beard and you know so be a little bit more manly like half of our guests here and um there's a thing called the 90 10 rule that we we harp all day long every week in our in our private insider club at salt strong and it's it this didn't come we didn't make it up by the way i'd love to take credit for it but there's a guy named frank sargent he's like a legend down here and especially in florida he's written so many books and he always talked about the 90 10 rule that not at any given time 90 of all the feeding fish are just in 10 of an area i'm guessing it's probably similar to hunting right if you had 100 acres there's probably about 10 area where most of the deer hog or whatever you're trying to hunt or whatever it might be and it's the same in fishing we've taken drones up and we've gone to small areas and we've gone to really big areas and i mean it's it's almost eerie how well that works so the number one goal we talked about structure and we talked about bait is trying to like eliminate all the dead zones knowing that ninety percent of it's a dead zone so eliminate that first like just basically start exiting out spots on a satellite map for instance and then start narrowing down like piece by piece where you think these fish are going to be based on trends which is what you know we teach and spend a lot of time teaching it's the same with hunting right now there's some places out there that just focus heavily on trends why would an elk be here in this area at this given time that's the 90 10 zone so that's that that's the one thing i wish someone had told me it wasn't until reading frank's book it was like this light bulb moment i was like holy smokes that's it like that changes everything of course it's easier said than done sometimes but once you get it it makes everything else easier

Brad: yeah jacob and i floated with um john hunter who's on on our team here at go wild he's professional bass angler he's fished flw most recently is where he's kind of been the last few years and he fishes like just like that with the mentality i mean jacob and i would see him he's moving down the water super fast boom boom boom boom everything's a grid boom boom boom boom and if there's nothing there's no like most people would sit there and grind it out for 20 minutes and john it's just moving and then when he did get action we might sit there for 45 minutes you know and really working that space and i learned a lot just from watching him but i mean really if i were to summarize what he was doing it was that 90 10 split all right luke same question over to you you know what's that best piece of advice you had given little little bearded Joe you just look like you came out with that thing like a wet sopping beard like mama

Joe: yeah i would just say kind of reiterate what we've been talking about is just focus on on learning the fish like look focus on the trends and and not not so much to focus on the gear i used to just mow lawns and pick weeds in high school and all my money went to go get a nicer reel or the the newest lure that just came out thinking that the reason why i was struggling is because i didn't have the right gear that wasn't the case at all the reason why i was struggling is because i wasn't putting myself in that 90 10 zone i wasn't putting myself in the feeding zones because when you do that properly you don't have to have the best gear you don't have to have 800 reel you can have just a basic set up a beginner setup and catch a ton of fish as long as you just know this fish behavior everyone's a little bit different um know their behavior and then you can find fish wherever you are as well

Brad: yeah dude i love that i'm sorry go for it no you're getting ready to hit what i was going to say i know the show's called gearbox talk but but dude people don't believe me but we have that whole gear feature on GoWild we have this gear show and i tell people all the time listen this show is as much to tell you what not to buy because i think so much of the barrier to get outside like like salt water fishing it seems like man i don't know i gotta go out spend this eight hundred dollars on this this is real like no you don't man like our whole mission is to get more people outside for whatever they want to do so a lot of uh the guests we focus on is just trying to make this stuff more accessible by trying to make you understand like hey man if you want to try hunting go buy cotton bibs from walmart like i don't like that's totally fine so a lot of it is reinforcing that message and then you know every now and then we get somebody to come in who you know who's a coyote hunter or whatever some kind of hardcore fly fisherman or something we'll nerd out on some stuff if you really want to go top end but the the really the goal of GoWild in this show is to try to get people to understand what luke just said so all right jacob i'll kick this next one over to you

Jacob: yeah luke i think so diving into the gear aspect of things what's the number one combo that you recommend to somebody who's trying to get into saltwater in short

Brad: dude they just said no combos and you come what combo are you building

Luke: design your own so what i found is that if if you want to do some artificial lures in some live bait and we're talking about inshore fishing redfish sea trout snook flounder um just getting like a seven foot to seven six rod that is fast action and and medium power medium to medium heavy somewhere in that range the problem is that every every rod company does has like a slightly different measuring system if you will so some rods are medium and one brand feel like a medium heavy and another sometimes a medium and one brand feels like a heavy in another but but it's kind of go to us go to a store and just just feel it put the tip on the ground and just see how it flexes you can feel the uh the amount of power and you can see the action of the bend curvature of the rod and just kind of go with one that's in the middle um after you try out maybe five five different rods

Brad: luke any specific brands that you guys have kind of seen that are in that like ideal for beginners for price range just to kind of help point them a little bit more in that direction

Luke: yeah so for for specify one i have it here um because you mentioned i knew we're gonna talk about gear but it's a tfo this is a temple fork outfitter rod they're there in dallas texas and it's it's a seven foot six medium power it has good feel good flex it's around a hundred dollars so again this is where i spend most of the money on the rod and then you can pair it with like a 50 to 80 reel or whatever and you can catch all of this you can catch a bit of everything as far as the real size um like a 2500 is what i use most of all uh or 3 000 you can go with diet like a die with lego it's probably my bet my favorite it's a 90 it's 99 you can go higher you can go lower it's really about just focus on the rod and use braid line like a 10 a 10 pound braid line paired with this rod and a 2500 3000 reel you can absolutely launch your lures you have plenty of power to catch even even some of the biggest fish oversized

Jacob: i think joe you could probably expand on it too but the that misconception of i'm going for saltwater fish so i need a 4 000 5000 size reel explain how you're recommending those smaller reels

Joe: yeah and that was something we did as well right we had these big 4 000 series just to go out there and catch a little trout and peter deeks he's one of the captains that we do a lot of work with and he's got like seven world records and he always says hook the fish before you worry about getting them in like you know if you most of us want to go out there and get tight lines if you're trying to get a state record even him like this guy goes out like he's actually fishing with bill dance right now because bill's got him on the show going after trophy fish and he still is using like 3 000 series reels to go after like monster tarpon like big fish so it's always like don't think that you have to have this 20 30 pound braid it's like going hunting with you know a bazooka you just don't have to have it and it sounds funny because you guys know but we see some of these people on piers and marinas and docks and it's like what are you guys trying to catch a whale and it's like no wonder they have all this i mean it's we call it jewelry you know where you got uh obviously you need a hook or a jig head but they have swivels and all kinds of stuff everywhere and weights you're like you're just like screaming to the fish like this is fake uh that no one's gonna hit it so yeah luke nailed it i would go tfo rod keep it simple in a daiwa fuego they're tough to get right now there's probably you could probably resell it for 150 um there's like a secondary market because you guys are having the same issue in ammo it's really tough to find those good there's great like value reels right now

Jacob: yeah dude it's any gear i mean there's we're we're seeing it across everything binoculars scopes i mean uh the fish our fishing gear we have fishing gear uh that we're moving in um or we try to move and it's it's often out so the industry in general is just upside down on inventory hey so so a lot of people um who don't live coastal uh they get an opportunity to be on the beach for a week and they're they're they're like man i wanna go saltwater fishing like you're there gets you away from your family maybe i don't know i'm just saying maybe that's some people's case but you got that day you want to try it i'm curious on your all's advice uh with as much as you do this if you're still new to saltwater and you want to take a day and kind of learn would you recommend somebody going out and just trying it on the shore or do you recommend doing like a guided you know a boat with with a guide party boat whatever you want to call them is which one's a better way to kind of learn if you're totally new yeah and i'll kick this over to joe sorry i didn't identify who's going to

Joe: yeah luke might disagree just because he loves he's kind of more the engineer and loves the trial and error part but i would personally hire a guide all day long a private guide not not a not a big party boat where you got 40 other people you're not going to learn much because if you find the right guide and be honest with them you know like you tell them you're on vacation you just like you want to catch fish you also want to learn you can you can i mean that's just a wealth of information if if they're willing to share and most of them are when you approach it that way um i would say another tip because this is a little bit different let's just use bass fishing as we grew up with that you know in bass fishing we use lures all day long we use soft plastics and hard baits and and then all of a sudden we get to saltwater fishing was another misconception everyone's using live bait uh like it was unheard of to go out there and catch redfish with with lures i mean very few people are doing it and i still think if it was a new person and you just wanted to get tight lines i would say buy live shrimp if you were gonna do it on the pier on the beach whatever it is otherwise i would say go with just a simple paddle tail like a swim bait uh and a jig head like just keep it super super simple you don't need all that hardware you don't need all the other stuff but it's just it's tough to go wrong with live or fresh shrimp uh it's very very tough to go wrong but long story short if it was me and i had the money i would hire a guide first

Brad: luke what about you

Luke: yeah i mean i would agree all right if you go and get custom help that's always going to be the best money is obviously going to be a factor a hiring guide is expensive if that's not on in the budget then just just going to like the pier or to the beach and just networking right it's all about i'll say what i've learned over the years is that human intelligence is by far the best way to learn and it could be from hiring a guide it could just be from being nice and just being cordial to some guy on the pier that's crushing it while everybody else isn't catching any right and the cool thing about fishing is that there's just so many nice people it's rare that you meet somebody that's just a mean person who's out fishing and so just go be nice just chat with them hey what's what are you doing so you catch a bunch of fish they'll be happy to tell you uh what they're doing and they'll probably give you some of their stuff um we see it all

Joe: not eight hundred dollar reels i'll tell you no

Luke: that's part of our club is that we have a big network of people and we see you know member after member who who meets somebody on a pier at the dock or at the marina and are struggling they're helping them out and hey here's some here's some extra gear you know go try it out talk to a kid who's really getting after it so just be nice just just start networking with with whoever you see out there that's that's fishing and you'll be surprised with how how willing and actually how energetic people are when they start helping

Jacob: yeah i went on a trip to south carolina one time and we just went down to the pier by myself it was the first time i'd gone without my dad who's he's always been my fishing guide and i found an empty space on the pier and started casting out into the water well it was empty because everybody else was on the other side of the pier and this old guy comes over and he's like hey why do you think everybody else is over here and so he explained to me like the way the currents were and where the fish were moving and all that kind of stuff so watching what other people are doing is a great you know first step but then also like you said some some guys are just nice enough to to give you tips so all right last hour you don't know what's gonna happen after this hour gun to your head you got one lure one fish to chase what are you doing joe

Joe: i'm gonna go with the slam shady baby on a on a little jig heads this is the three and a half inch swim bait it's a little paddle tail that that we created uh with a little trout eyes this is a jig head by z man this is my go-to if you look at i got a few rods there behind me i'd say almost half of them have this set up it just it just keeps working it's not then i'll be all but if i can only pick one i would use this and i would be targeting redfish personally just one of my all-time favorites you can catch them from texas up to virginia and you can use one lure that and even my little nine-year-old daughter uses this because it's just a straight retrieve i mean you can you can use it other ways but so easy you cast it out and you just straight retrieve it and it just continues to keep working we've got uh what 86 different species we're documenting all the species caught on this one little lure we're up to 86 now which is really really cool so this is my favorite it was kind of a no-brainer for me

Jacob: yeah you know what's interesting about the paddle tails there's a fly fishing guide out west i think in montana kelly gallup who's notorious for making these big articulated streamer flies and he said if you're going to fish anywhere for the first time soft paddle tail swim bait it doesn't matter what it is they'll go after it so luke what's your
Luke: i'll say i'll say the same lure just as you said paddle tails that they work i've used that one in particular in multiple states and different water clarities night fishing daytime fishing it's just a good all-around lure it's not always the best but it's never the worst and it just it just gets the job done so if that's the only way i could do but i would i would say my favorite fish to target with it would be snook um growing up as a bass addict um snook is very similar they eat the same stuff they're very aggressive they they crush top water um and so i would say uh you know a snook would take the edge of a redfish in my opinion but same lure

Brad: awesome guys this is really fun why don't you give a little shout out for what you guys do and tell people where to find you if they want to connect with you on on social and all that good stuff

Joe: yeah the company's salt strong luke and i we left the financial services world back in 2015 just kind of burnt out and not really fulfilled and we really just wanted a community slash that started off as a youtube and blog that just helped people that we just taught how-to tips started with knots and now we get in some pretty advanced stuff and now it's a pretty cool little you know it's a membership based community uh we have now 20 almost 22 thousand members in our private club and that's all at saltshore.com and i believe all of our handles are either saltstrong or thesaltstrong some some dude on instagram beat us to the punch and got salt strong even though it's trademarked we've been nice to him

and uh he posts occasionally um just we kind of we kind of creep we kind of watch him so we're watching you uh at saltstrung on instagram
Brad: that's funny all right guys this is awesome i appreciate you coming on and really helping people that want to get into saltwater fishing

Joe: thank you guys good times

Brad: all right thank you to the salt brothers there that was an awesome show i really did enjoy that show those guys are awesome hosts we're gonna have them back onto my other podcast restless native sometime this summer i'm excited to dig in and hear a little bit more about that storyline we kind of talked about if you know quitting your fat cat jobs going out and building this fishing brand and taking all this risk and chasing your dream chasing your passion that's what my other show restless native is all about so if you haven't checked out that show before do that we've got all kinds we've got 140 episodes or something like that 130 episodes of restless native that tell these stories from the outdoors all right thank you to our sponsor federal premium appreciate federal you can use code go wild 15 on your checkout at federal premiums website thank you all for stopping by every week watching the show leaving comments logging on GoWild i love to see the GoWild logs thank you for doing that tag me every time and i i you know i'm going through i'm cruising those i'm talking to people who are who are letting us know feedback on the show just last week somebody said hey man i want i want to see some more shows about spear fishing you know i haven't had a spear fishing show yet so guess what we're doing it we're going to get somebody on about spear fishing that show will be coming out soon here in june i think june timeline so whatever you want let us know we're going to go out there and find that guest and we're going to bring it back to you all right that's it for me today though i'm out

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