How to Start Fishing

Fishing’s not just for food, although those aquatic chaps are truly delicious indeed; it can be a relaxing and fun hobby that brings you a good amount of happiness. If you’re a newcomer to fishing, even if you’ve never fished a day in your life, don’t fret. Our guide has everything you need to know to learn how to start fishing.

Fishing is one of the world’s most widely enjoyed leisure activities, and one of the oldest traditions known to humankind. Ever since man could make tools, we’ve been casting lines into waterways and oceans, hoping for that nibble that will result in a glorious feast for our tribe.

Of course, the days of the lone fisherman providing for his family is a relic of the past, with commercial trawlers and farm fishing providing plentiful fish for our food supply, but fishing recreationally or just to feed your family and friends is still an activity enjoyed by many millions each day.

Fishing is also well known to be a stress reducing and relaxing activity – sitting on a boat or standing on a breezy jetty, watching the slow, undulating waves, helps you forget all your worries, even if it is just for a few hours. And looking at the horizon or at the water somehow invites your mind to let go of the stress that has been boiling inside you.

Being able to catch fishes after hours of waiting gives you a true sense of accomplishment. Aside from that, it teaches you about patience, that when you just pay attention, concentrate, and wait, you will be rewarded in the end.

Chartered Fishing Trips

One of the best ways to go about getting your feet wet in the world of fishing is to embark upon a chartered fishing trip for the day. Just do a google search for ‘chartered fishing trips’ followed by your area and you should see if there are any in your region.

The reason they are so good for beginners is twofold; first, you don’t need to worry about any gear, such as rods, bait and the assorted equipment. All of this is provided for you. This is a big one for people new to fishing, as it gives you a chance to try a bunch of different rods and get a feel of what you prefer, so you are not walking in blind when you buy your own stuff.

The second reason is that you’ll be fishing with experienced pros who usually will happily guide you every step of the day, from getting your rods properly set up with fishing line, to how to tie all of the important knots, to knowing when and how to reel in a catch. The boats now almost all employ modern technology suc has fish fishing sonar and GPS systems which means your skipper will take you straight to where the most fish are; no wasting time standing around with no bites, as is what usually happens with a beginner starting to fish.

All in all, this is a method I can highly recommend. There’s nothing quite as fun as getting a few friends together and going on a chartered fishing trip for a day. It doesn’t even take much skill to catch something – just bait up, drop the line, and wind up!! Not only will it catapult you into a new passion but it will be a day you’ll remember for years to come.

Going Solo

If you aren’t interested in the chartered fishing trip or just don’t have the money to spend on it, you can start fishing by buying yourself a rod and finding a good spot to fish. Ideally you should ask someone you know who is a fishing expert if you can tag along with him or her. That way you can use their equipment and learn from them. If you don’t have any fishing-savvy pals, though, fear not. Our guide will explain everything you need to know about taking the plunge into fishing.

The first thing you’ll need to consider is what kind of equipment to buy. There are three keys things to consider with equipment when fishing.

You need to think about what rod you’re going to use. Size matters here. Longer rods generally give you more casting range and control over the direction of lures. Shorter rods can be easier in tighter spaces such as small boat fishing on a river where there a lot of trees nearby you don’t want to get your line caught on. As a beginner, though, you’re usually better off sticking with a longer rod at least 6’6″ in length.

You also need to think about what reel to use. The reel needs to be matched correctly to the reel to ‘balance’ your setup.

Finally, you need to consider what type of line you’re going to use. Different types of fishing line have different diameters, allowing varying degrees of control and visibility. Thinner lines are often harder to see and might have more success rates with certain breeds of fish.

The equipment setup you’ll use will depend a bit on what type of fishing you will be doing. Beach, jetty, boat or from a kayak? All have slightly different equipment requirements.

Finding a Location

Without any doubt, the most important aspect of fishing successfully is finding a good location. You can try fishing all day long in the polluted waters of the Jersey Shore, but the most you’ll catch is a pair of old slacks and a fungal disease. Obviously we can’t help you find an area local to you that’s going to be a great fishing spot, but there are generally four distinct types of fishing area; off a beach, from a jetty, on a boat or on a kayak. Let’s go over these now.

Beach Fishing

Beach fishing’s not really recommended for a beginner, as there are a lot of subtleties to consider and environmental factors that can affect the quality of your fish. For example you have to account for waves and strong winds. If you decide on beach fishing at first, you’ll probably want a fishing rod in the range of 10 to 12 feet. Try and find a rod that’s not too soft, with not a lot of flex in the tip, and one that can handle up to 6 ounces of weight to hold a rig on the bottom. Your casting technique should be broad and almost circular, as you need to generate a lot of power from the cast. The below video shows you how to do a beach cast:

Beach fishing is all about getting familiar and competent at casting techniques and reel control, and it’s very important to develop a smooth casting stroke and a good sense of timing for the release.

Jetty Fishing

Most newcomers will start out with jetty fishing, and for good reason, as it’s probably the easiest way to start fishing for a beginner. The best thing about jetty fishing is that you don’t have to take a truckload of gear. All you really need is is a hook, line, sinker and bait. Prawns and squid usually do the trick and if you are like me and want to catch something huge, take some pilchards.

The type of rod to use doesn’t matter as much when jetty fishing, especially if you’re just starting out and not going after big catches like sharks or rays.

In fact, usually all you need to fish successfully from a jetty is a hand line or a typical 4-6 kg (8-13 lb) fishing rod and reel. Most experienced fishermen recommend using unweighted baits when fishing from a jetty. This is because you want the bait to be somewhere up around the surface to attract fish such as garfish and mullet, and the hook and bait itself normally has enough weight to sail through the wind.

The below is a good video to introduce you to jetty fishing and the ideal technique.

Boat Fishing

Your best bet is to start out on small boats for a beginner and seek smaller fish. For smaller fish such as carp, a rod around the 4-8kg mark (8-16 lb) is perfect for your needs, and you’ll want a rod at least 6’6″ or preferably 7′ in length.

Remember the long-standing adage among fishermen, the ‘rule of three’. This rules states that you can expect to be able to catch fish that are about 3 times your line weight. This means that a 9kg fish would require at least a 3kg line.

A great way to learn to start fishing, regardless of the area you’re in is to watch the locals for a while. They’ll know what species are there, how to target them, and what the best equipment setups are for the area. You can also try local fishing magazines which will give you a local perspective on types of fish in your area and how to catch them.

Basic Knots

A beginning fisherman really only needs to know about three to four basic knot types. As you get more specialised you’ll start to learn different types of knots that apply to different situations.

This video provides a good rundown of the most basic types of knots you’ll use over and over.

Remember, at the end of the day, fishing is all about patience and not letting frustration get the better of you. It takes time to get good enough at fishing to catch fish every time you hit the water, and even experienced fishermen often walk away empty handed. Just keep at it, and you’ll eventually reach the day where you hit a glorious jackpot of great fish and you’ll feel like an epic God of the aquatic beasts.

photo credit: Garry – via photopin cc

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