If you have been thinking of fishing, then this article is meant for you. Of course, it is not as simple as ABCD, but you can land a fish on your first trip with the right guide. Here I will show you how to get started with 10 simple steps.
1. Get a fishing license
Before you head out to the waters, you need a fishing license for the state you plan to fish in. Purchase one from fishing shops, online or check at convenience stores near you. The permit will cost you less than $20 for day fishing and $30-$150 if you buy one for a year. However, the price varies based on state and your residence. Non-residents pay more, but generally, an annual subscription gives better deals.
2. Find a place to fish
Next, you will have to locate the ideal fishing point. It is best to start with public fishing areas with a shore, dock, and pier access. Most DNR (Department of Natural Resources) websites have ‘lake finders’ that help you search for public fishing spots near your town. If your preferred fishing location is near you, it is best to go there before your actual fishing trip. Check the fishing activities, potential structures and confirm access points to make it easy during D-day.
3. Learn how to identify the fish species in the waters you will be fishing in
You have to abide by laws as you hunt for a catch. One such requirement is identifying the fish species so you can accurately refer to any bag limits, size limits, and other regulations about particular species. Some areas only allow for catch and release, and it may not be good if you are longing to take a catch home.
4. Assemble the right angling gear and tackle
You only need the essential gear and tackle to get started fishing. Here is the list to guide you:
- Spinning reel and rod combo
- Lures and bait (Go for PowerBait and decoy designed lures- Consider live bait such as worms, minnows, and crickets a few days before you head out)
- Round plastic bobbers
- Spool of monofilament fishing line- (for freshwater fishing buy 6- or 8-pound) test line
- Assortment of hooks (Should be of various sizes- size 3/0 for bigger bait and 2 for smaller bait)
- Needle nose pliers (to remove hooks from fish’s mouth)
- Tacklebox (to keep lure and bait)
- Measuring tape
- Scissors (For cutting fishing lines or leader)
- Split shop weight
- Rubber net
5. Learn useful fishing skills
Practice simple fishing knots
Before you head out, you need some basic skills in tying knots. Learn double-uni knot for joining lines and the improved clinch knot for tying leader to the hook. These two basic knots for beginners will help you get started.
Fishing etiquette demands that you respect the fish you catch, other anglers, and the surrounding environment. Here are some of the dos and don’ts:
- Follow the leave-no-trace ethics
- Keep away from someone else fishing spot- a distance of 50-60 feet is recommended in crowded places
- Be in check with the local regulation book to know the rules that govern the section you are fishing in
- Keep only fish that you can eat
It is important to know how to read waters to identify suitable spots where fish will be hiding. In lakes, you will find more fish in or around downed trees and weeds near the shores. Drop-off points are also nice places to target. In rivers, overhanging banks or logjams are the best targets as they provide hiding places for the fish.
6. Spool your reel
Spool your spinning reel with 200 yards of the monofilament line you bought. To spool, run the fishing line through the rod guides and tie it to the spool using a double knot with the bail open. Put the spool of line in the water and apply tension using the index figure and the thumb as you reel it. Close the bail once you spin enough line.
7. Head to your fishing location and rig your line
Since you have already identified your fishing location, get all the gear and head out for your first angling experience. When you get there, remove your tools and set up your fishing rod with the line, bobber, weight, and hook. Finally, hook up your bait and get ready to cast. Use the right size of hook based on your chosen bait.
Check out this video to set up the line the right way.
8. Cast your line to the waters
You need to wind up and chuck your lure as far as you can to cast your bait out. Hold the rod in the throwing hand and reel’s shaft in-between ring and middle finger. Flip the bail with your other hand, pinch the line between the rod handle and index finger and ensure you firmly grip the rod. Now bring the tip of the rod slowly and slightly behind you.
Bring it back, and once the rod is vertical or slightly in front of you, release your finger pinching the line to send your lure flying far away to the waters. Flip back the bail once your lure is on the water and begin to reel.
9. Hook the catch
When you notice you bobber driving sideways or moving up and down, then it means you got a bite on your line. Take a few seconds to let the fish bite the bait, then point your rod tip up to hook the fish properly. You need to be careful not to break your line or let the fish spit the lure. Keep the rod tip up and play the fish to get tired so it can be less hostile.
10. Reel in and land the catch!
Slowly reel in your fishing line until it is taut. Continue to reel in the fish while following fish movement to guide the rod until the fish surfaces. Once closer to the shore at your arm’s length, use the net to scoop the fish. Do not let it touch the ground or dock. Again do not touch its gills or squeeze the stomach and only keep it out of water for a few seconds if you intend to release it back to the water.
Key Insights and Takeaways!
There you have it. With this guide, you will easily land your first catch. Please read it, head out, land your catch, and thank me later!
About the author: Ally is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. He loves sharing his experience through blogging. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty.