Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about? Why do billions of people around the world go fishing from time to time? After all, could you just walk to the nearest fish market and buy some of the best and freshest steaks? Why, then, would someone take the time to learn how to fish, spend hours and hours sitting in their boat, and maybe even end up not catching anything?
The simple truth: it’s a lot of fun. Plus, it’s a skill that could save your life one day. As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and he will feed him for life. “
How To Fish: A Beginner’s Checklist
Fishing is a valuable skill and learning how to do it is fun and a great way to add a new bonding activity for yourself and the family.
That said, it’s still a skill, and learning how to fish requires something … well, learning!
The best way to do this is to take the time to learn:
- What fishing equipment do you need
- How to use that fishing gear
- The best places to fish
- How to really fish
- How to clean the fish you catch
And maybe even how to cook fish. Once you have all this figured out, you can take more sophisticated lessons, like learning how different fish, like trout, taste; Compile a list of the best-tasting fish and start looking specifically for them. But we get ahead of ourselves.
Today, let’s take one step at a time. Let’s start by learning how to fish.
Fishing Checklist for Beginners
Just like in school, before embarking on learning a new skill, you must first learn what you will need to learn and master. Here’s a simple but pretty comprehensive fishing checklist for beginners. What you will need to get started:
Once you have ticked off each and every one of these items on the list and a few more, you will find that little by little you have become a much more efficient angler. The thing about fishing is that it’s not exactly something you have to master in one day.
You cannot master it in one day. Experience is needed. This is primarily because fishing situations, locations, and objectives change, and with that comes a whole new set of skills.
For example, fishing off the pier is exceptionally different than fishing miles from shore. The same applies to fishing in a lake, a river, freshwater, saltwater, ice fishing… whatever. All of these different types of fishing situations require different variations of your fishing knowledge.
However, the beauty of this is that if you learn the basics well, the rest will fit in more easily.
How to Get Started Fishing
Now let me clarify one thing: one of the easiest ways to learn how to fish is to hang out with your friends who are avid fishermen. These are the people who will give you invaluable information on what works and what doesn’t. This method will help you get through a lot of literature and theoretical knowledge and allow you to fish faster.
Unfortunately, it is also quite a narrow focus because your fishing friends will only teach you what they know. If the person you choose only fishes rivers and lakes, they won’t have any valuable advice on saltwater offshore. The same is true when your fisher friend is more focused on catching bass; they will hardly have valuable information specific to trout catching or ice fishing.
That is why it is important to do both: supplement the practical lessons with lots of literature and even more practical lessons. As mentioned above, this is not something that you are going to learn overnight. You will gain experience and knowledge the more you fish. With that said, let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take to start fishing:
Get a Fishing License
Step 1: Get a Fishing License
Yes, you will need a fishing license. Every state requires you to have one. Do not worry. These licenses are fairly easy to get and fairly inexpensive. You can easily order one online, or you can get one at your favorite fishing store or even some convenience stores.
While prices vary from state to state, they are often quite friendly, with a daily license costing just under $ 20. However, you need to pay attention to your state of residence, as fishing licenses cost a little more for non-residents.
Pro Tip: You will get more value for your money if you buy an annual fishing license. For obvious reasons, you can use this to go fishing at any time of the year instead of having to search for a license every time you want to go out. Plus, the total value of an annual fishing license almost never exceeds $ 150, which means you’ll pay less than $ 15 per month.
Step 2: Get the Gear
Now, this is where things get interesting. You will quickly discover that there are so many different types of fishing gear, all geared towards making your fishing life that much easier. The thing is, most fishing gear is designed to catch specific types of fish or to help you perfect a specific style of fishing. You will need to know all of this to get the most efficient option for you.
Fortunately, you don’t have to learn everything in one day. You can try them all one by one until you find the one that best suits your needs.
A reel and spinning rod combo
However, as a beginner, it is advisable to use a spinning rod and reel combination. There are several good reasons for this:
- The rod and reel combo means they are sold together and therefore much easier to set up.
- They can cast lighter lures further, which means you can get away with it without being an absolute master of casting at first.
- The spinning rod and reel combination allows you to skip lures under bushes, docks, docks, etc.
- Most reels offer an interchangeable reel handle, making it easy for both left- and right-handed people to fish without having to buy fishing rods for their specific orientation.
- It allows you to easily adjust your resistance when fighting fish.
Here is a video that introduces you to the spinning rod and reel combination; showing you the basic parts and giving you an idea of how to cast with this rod:
Step 3: Your Tackle and Lures
These will be the next items on the list. Like reels and rods, there are thousands of baits and lures on the market today, and most of them are designed to attract a specific type of fish under specific fishing conditions. Again, you don’t need to know all of them at once.
That said, you need to know the basics. As a beginner, you may want to start with live baits, such as worms, to begin with. If the worms are too slimy for you, you may want to consider PowerBait, a scented material that can form around your hook.
Once you’ve made a few live bait attempts and are more comfortable with them, you may want to consider lures designed to look like smaller baitfish and do a very good job of attracting the fish’s attention. You will also need:
- Bobbers – Small balls that float in the water and sink as soon as a fish hits your lure, alerting you that you have a fish on the line.
- A net- preferably a rubber net (easier on the fish’s skin) to pull the fish out of the water once you’ve rolled it up.
- Needle nose pliers – This is what you use to retrieve your hook and lures from inside your hooked fish’s mouth
- Tackle Box – This is where you’ll keep all this organized fishing paraphernalia.
You should realize that the first box of tackle you buy will probably not be the last, and neither will the rods, reels, lures, or even hooks. Fishing is much like any other outdoor activity; The more experience you get, the better and more specialized your team will be.
This means that you shouldn’t worry too much about these first few purchases, they are meant to get you going and at some point, you will update them as you become more specialized as a fisherman.
Step 4: Launch and Catch Your First Fish
Your first fishing experience can be as simple or as complicated as you want. You could either try fishing while standing on a riverbank or on the shores of a calm lake, or you could go all out and head miles offshore and try to land large fish like tuna. It is advisable to try launching from the shore of a calm river or lake first to familiarize yourself with the equipment and the process.
This is a skill that every angler should master for a very simple reason: it allows you to cast your bait or lure as close to where the fish are as possible. One of the main reasons purchasing a spinning reel is recommended as a beginner is that casting is as intuitive as rolling and casting the lure. These are the simple steps:
- Start by leaving about 6 inches of line at the end of your reed
- Keep the reel under your dominant hand
- There is a bail on your spinning reel that keeps your line in place; you need to flip this bail while holding the line with your finger
- Slowly lift the tip of the rod and slightly behind you.
- Using your wrist and elbow, launch the rod forward, propelling the lure through the air towards the target fish.
- As soon as your lure hits the water, turn the bail back and start wobbling to attract fish.
Here’s a video that gives you a quick tutorial on how to cast a spinning reel as a beginner:
Hooking the Fish
When it comes to catching a fish, there are two main things to avoid:
- The fish spitting the lure
- Your line breaking and releasing the fish
Of course, either of these two things could happen to even the most experienced anglers. However, there are some tips that can help reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Place the hook correctly, this requires skill. It means striving to set it up at the right time and with the right amount of pressure. You can do this by keeping an eye on the bobber; once it sinks in or even jolts, quickly point the rod tip up and pull it back with a little pressure. This will keep the lure in the fish’s mouth without tearing the lip. This is about timing. If you do it right, you will place the hook firmly on the fish’s lip rather than deeper in the mouth.
Keep Rod Tip-Up – Once you’ve set the hook correctly, it’s all about “playing” with the fish while keeping the rod tip up. The idea here is to let the fish swim and fight as much as they can while still hooked on your line to tire you out. Once you are tired enough, you can turn it on and lift it up with its rubber net.
You may be wondering, “why do I need to do all of this if I already have the hook attached correctly?” The truth is, most fish are stronger than you might think. If you try to get it going as soon as you have it hooked, the power you will be fighting with can break the line very easily. By letting it tire while you keep it on the line, you will have the upper hand when it comes to rolling it up.
Pro Tips: Always make sure your line is taut (“keep the slack”), know your reel’s specific drag system. You will find that different rods and reels have different drag systems. If you are fishing for smaller fish, you will be happier with a rod and reel that offer less drag, while the reverse is true if you are looking for larger fish.
Step 5: Landing Your Fish
If you have done everything correctly so far, then you have successfully set the hook, played with your fish a bit, which means that you are now quite tired and closer to shore. From now on, all you have to do is make sure the line is taut as you roll it up; that’s where the rubber net comes in.
Once the fish is an arm’s length away from you, you can reach out and grab it, although this is not advisable; fish tend to be quite slippery and a bit flaky. By using your rubber net to lift it out of the water and onto the shore, you will land it in a more humane way.
If you intend to catch it and release it, be sure to avoid keeping it out of the water for longer than you can hold your breath.
What Else You Need to Know About How to Fish
There are many other useful skills that you need to learn and master. Here are some helpful skills that will come in handy:
You will need to learn to tie a lot of knots (one at a time). Here’s a video that gives you a tutorial on how to tie three of the best fishing knots for beginners:
While you’ll learn most of this on the job, it’s important to keep the basics in mind. You must be respectful of other fishermen (learn to give them space if you are in crowded waters). You also need to respect the environment you fish in, as well as the fish you catch.
How to Find Fish
The simplest approach is to use a fish finder. You can also ask your local fishing officer where the best fishing spots are for the season.
Learning to fish takes time, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The tips shared here should help you get off on the right foot.