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Beginners Guide

First Time Fishing Guide – Everything You Need To Know

how to get started fishing

Fishing is an activity that has long been enjoyed by many. Some do it for the money while some do it for recreational purposes. For centuries, we have loved to fish, exploring our waters hoping for a great catch. While this may be an enjoyable activity, fishing also requires important knowledge and skills. What, then, are several things that you need to know about fishing? What should we remember before, during, and after fishing? What should you prepare and what should you expect?

In this article, we will try to answer all of your questions about fishing. You will be guided on the important factors that you need to take into account when you decide to go to the waters for this outdoor activity. By knowing all of this, you would become more well-versed and more prepared for your next fishing activity.

Before Fishing

Researching

You can’t just go fishing without trying to know what type of fish you want to catch. Some may skip this part, but this one is very important and could save you a lot of time and resources. You need to know about different fish species so that you have an idea where you can find them, what part of the water can they be caught, their behavior, and the best time to catch them. Knowing your fish would also help you know the appropriate tools to use. Remember, tools that work best for catfish may not work effectively for other species. Researching will also help you be more familiar with the place so that you won’t waste time trying to navigate around a strange spot.

Studying the environment is one helpful way to maximize catch. You need to know the habitat of the particular species you are catching so that you can adapt your fishing gear, methods, and the like, especially when you are new to the place.

Preparing your equipment

Setting up for fishing

Fishing requires quite a few pieces of equipment, varying according to the type of fish you desire to catch. First, you need to decide if you are fishing in a boat or you are just fishing by the shoreline. If you do the latter, you need to choose from among many kayaks.

Fishing from a kayak has always been one of the most effective means to catch fish that are inaccessible for those who catch from the shore or those who use loud large motorboats. Because of their size and stealth, kayaks could access small, remote waterways and catch fish that are easily spooked. Plus, they relatively cost less than engine-powered boats.

But while boat fishing is generally effective, you don’t want to have just any fishing kayaks. You would want that which is equipped enough for your desired fishing experience – that which has all the features and would meet your set budget: from design, stability, all the way to load capacity.

Aside from this, you need other tools like casting rods, spinning reels, lines, baits, and lures. These are all important in fishing, and each of them comes with different features. Make sure that the tools you are choosing are of good quality, and that they are appropriate to the type of water where you are fishing.

Fishing rods usually come in different lengths, a number of bearings, and capacity. For fishing lines, you need a 6- or 8-pound test monofilament for freshwater while for saltwater, you need a 10- or 12-pound test. Finally, for baits and lures, you need to choose that which can best attract the fish. Some baits that are most appropriate are nightcrawlers, leeches, or minnows. For lures, you need to pay attention to the color of the lure you are choosing, for several lures are more appropriate depending on the body of water where you are fishing.

Other important gears and accessories include bobbers, hooks, and fishing weights which are all available in the tackle shop. You would also need some headlamps or flashlights if you decide to fish at night.

Securing a license

It is important that you know all the rules in fishing. Different areas may have different laws, so you need to be knowledgeable of this, especially when you’re beginning.

You would need to secure the license first to make sure that you are fishing legally. Afterward, you need to know about the weight of fish you are only allowed to catch. There are release rulers available that would immediately tell you the weight of the fish that bites on your lure. This way, you can release them safely back in the water when their weight is over the maximum.

When Fishing

Setting up

Set up your fishing rod with your fishing line, hooks, baits, and/or lures. This is important and could dictate the success of your catch. If you don’t set up your tools well, they might snap or come loose once the fish has bitten your bait. Knot the fish hook carefully, put a sinker to keep your lure on the water and not be swayed towards the shore, and place a bobber to tell you if a fish has already bitten your lure.

Casting!

One of the exciting parts of fishing is casting your fishing line. Learning how to cast is essential, as it is one of the first parts of fishing which you do not want to miss. It has been advised by most experts that you practice casting several times first before actually going to the water to save time. Many said that learning to double haul is an important part of casting because, without it, one’s casting ability will be held back. There are several casting strokes and styles that you might want to adopt, and each stroke or style also comes with a different casting rod of different features. Just be certain of the style you are most comfortable with or that which you think would work best for you.

Generally, casting is the same as skipping a stone across the water. The point in the direction you desire, bring the fishing rod back to your side and release it to the direction. There are reels, however, with release buttons which makes the task pretty simple. To release the line, just push the button and let it go if you want to stop.

Waiting quietly

man fishing

One of the most important and challenging parts of fishing. If you are impatient, you might find this difficult. To make your bait appear alive, you might want to lightly jerk the line to attract the fish more effectively. Some anglers just sit back and wait while others experiment on different methods in getting a bite. One important thing you need to remember, however, is to not reel back immediately once you have already cast.

Note that fish may get easily startled, so you do not want to drive them away by creating a lot of noise. If you’re bringing any device with you (e.g. smartphones or radios) make sure that you turn their volume down. It would also help if you prevent chattering so loudly.

Telling if you already get a bite is simply checking the bobber on water or the fishing line. It requires a lot of practice to precisely identify a bite, so this might be difficult the first time. Some anglers also attach bells to the end of their rods to detect a bite.

But when do you stop waiting? If you haven’t gotten a bite within 10-15 minutes of waiting, it would be best to look for another spot and start waiting once more.

Hooking the fish

If you feel a tug on the line, it means a fish is biting. This is when you would want to “set” the hook. Jerk your fishing rod backward and up quickly. Be careful, as the fish resists immediately when hooked and the line would follow its movements.

You can simply pull the fish by lifting the rod in a vertical motion while reeling simultaneously. The reel must not be used to pull the fish in, not unless you’ve caught a very small fish. Make sure that the line stays tight and that you have enough arm strength to pull the line toward you. Again, this may be challenging at first, as it requires a lot of coordination. Just stay calm and do not get too overwhelmed with your catch.

You would want to avoid loose lines as this is usually the reason why fish escapes from your hook. To make sure that the hook stays on the mouth of the fish, keep the tension on the line while holding the tip of the rod above your head.

There are also reels with adjustable drags, which would make this task easier. Stretching nylon means the drag starts to work. Fish usually get tired pulling a line with pressure so this would help you reel the line back in more easily.

Once you have reeled in the fish, you can simply bring it out of the water and catch it using a net. When handling your catch, be careful with the spikes on the fish or the hook that may stick out of its mouth.

After Fishing

measuring fish catch

Measuring Your Catch

You want to make sure that you’re catching a fish that is not prohibited to be caught in your area, so you need to measure it. You would also want to make sure that it is big enough to be taken (that is if you take the fish for eating). You can do this by moving your hand from the fish’s head to its tail. Alternately, you can bring along an identification guide if you plan to keep it so that you can ascertain what type of fish you have caught.

Removing the Hook

Whether you want to release the fish or keep it, you really need to remove the hook from the mouth. Some tools are useful in taking the hook out, but you can also use pliers that are needle-nosed for effective removing of the hook. Be careful as it may stick out of the fish’s mouth and could cause a laceration.

Decide what to do with the fish

While some anglers fish for the money, some fish for food or for recreation. This means that you need to decide if you want to release or keep the fish. If you’re fishing for fun, you can take a photo with the fish then put it back in the water gently. If you want to cook it, however, you would want to clean the fish immediately or put it in an underwater cage if you want to clean it after a few moments. If you decide not to clean the fish right away and if you don’t have underwater cages, make sure that you cut out the gills on one side. You want to make the meat fresher, so it’s advisable to put it on a stringer and then place the stringer on water.

Clean up

You do not want to leave a lot of mess on the place after you are done fishing. You have to take everything that you have carried to the place. This is a sign of respect to the next angler who might fish there and would help maintain the area to keep fish abundant. You would also want to clean your tools for next use, otherwise, they would rust and would not be as effective as the first time you’ve used them.

Final Thoughts

Fishing is an exciting activity. While it requires quite a few resources, effort, and knowledge, it is very rewarding once you already got your catch. It might not work all the time, and you might get frustrated for not immediately catching a fish or catching something you do not desire, but it’s best if you won’t give up. The more you fish increases the likelihood of you getting more well-versed with the activity so that you could do it with ease.

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Andrew Wilson

Content Creator

Andrew is an avid fishing enthusiast who is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information and reviews of fishing gears & accessories, and other related fishing resources.

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