This is one of those instances where I need answers that are written as if you were speaking to a 5 year old. I don't know a whole lot about fishing.

My uncle likes to go fishing on the long island sound mostly but it's getting to be too much of a drive at his age. The majority of fish I remember him catching were porgies and other fish of that size. We're not talking huge fish and his gear reflects that. Rods and spinning reels. Lures, weights, etc.

There are some local lakes, rivers, creeks that have trout stocked by the NJ Fish and Wildlife division, bass and other fish. These are much easier for him to get to but most of his fishing has been in the same area out on a boat. When I think about freshwater fishing I get a picture of someone in waders with a fly fishing rod which would be too much of a shift in gear.

Main fish is large mouth bass and trout from what I can gather.

Can his ocean fishing gear (rods, reels line mainly) be used for trout and bass fishing in lakes, streams and rivers? If so I'm guessing at least the hooks, lures and other stuff that gets tied to the end of the line would need to be different as well as bait. IF this can be done can you make suggestions for a versatile setup to get him started fishing in NJ lakes and streams without getting into fly fishing?

  • Welcome OrganicLawnDIY! I've respected you at Gardening:SE for years, and it's so cool to see you over here! I don't fish so I can't help with the question, I just wanted to say "hi" to an old friend. We have some great fisherman here, so hopefully you'll get good answers very soon! Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:56
  • hi @Sue :) Good to see you here. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 4:32

3 Answers 3


Yes they will work but may not be ideal from a professional standpoint, for recreational fishing that you are not overly serious about it will work fine. The major difference is that generally speaking saltwater rigs (poles, reels and line) are a lot heavier gear for larger fish, however if he was fishing specifically for smaller species you should be okay either way.

You mentioned both trout and bass, both of which require different tactics if specifically fishing for one or the other. One of the best known ways to fish for largemouth bass is with a rubber worm used in a texas rig or other variations. Which there is a plethora of information on all over the web.

Fly fishing is popular for fishing for trout but that can indeed be caught other ways as well. Using real worms aka nightcrawlers is one of the best live baits when trout fishing especially in rolling high water rivers where a fly would get swept away or be unnoticeable amongst the current and splashing.

In lower clear water a piece of worm rather than a whole worm works well. When lake fishing it is advised to use a whole worm but with the hook passing though it several times so that it is in more of a bunch rather than a long strand.

More on each of those here

A saltwater poles will work with either of these methods but like i mentioned, if they are the heavier variety they are not as ideal as a pole made for fishing these ways as the feel with be different. Heavy poles you don't feel as much feedback through, such as the bottom of the river or lake or the light taps of a fish testing your bait. The hookset with also be different and may require a bit of practice to perfect. A heavy pole has a heavier hook set and can potentially pull the hook and bait right out of the fishes mouth if you're not careful, although this is pretty easy to avoid.

The side of the pole near where the reel mounts should say whether they are a medium or medium-heavy pole. Most likely a Medium according to what you have said about his previous fishing.

  • "The majority of fish I remember him catching were porgies and other fish of that size. We're not talking huge fish and his gear reflects that."
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 20:29
  • editted for clarity
    – Nate W
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 14:47

It will be fine. There is no issue going from salt to fresh. Usually saltwater gear includes lines and tackles that are supposed to catch bigger fish deeper in the ocean so you should probably try the smallest lures. The line will be quite visible but if you are inexperienced it will not be much of a problem - I usually fret over line visibility but I don't think it matters more than having gear in the water at the right place at the right time (luck). The poles are stiffer than fresh water poles, but again if you have no reference point and are just learning to throw - stiffer is just as well.

  • @Aaron yup. Good catch. Editing.
    – Stian
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 16:15

Should work fine if he is set up for smaller fish. Even a set up for large fish would work but you would need to put a light line on it.

Saltwater reel is designed to withstand the corrosive effects of salt. It works fine in fresh water.

As for bait and lure it will depend on the fish. A local tackle shop can help you out.

Your uncle knows his gear. Ask him if he thinks it will work.

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