Fishing For Beginners- Get Started in 9 Easy Steps
Getting started with fishing for the first time? No problem: with these 8 easy steps, you’ll be on the water catching some fish in no time!
Before you get started, know that learning how to fish is a journey. You’re not going to pick up your rod and tackle box and cast off and immediately catch something. (If you do — tell us your secrets!) Fishing is about learning the intricacies of weather and tide patterns, trying out a few fishing spots until you find the right one, and figuring out that magic touch and combination of bait and current that helps you catch the Big One.
With some patience and an appreciation of learning the process, you’ll be a master fisher in no time.
Step 1: Pick Your Fishing Spot
When picking a spot for your first fishing trip, get as much information about your chosen body of water as you can. Some lakes have creel limits — aka, a maximum amount of fish you can catch per day. See what other information you can get online and from the park’s website about your fishing spot, including any relevant maps or directions. Topographical maps of your chosen body of water will help you find the right spots to go fishing depending on the time of day.
Step 2: Obtain a Fishing License
You also may need to obtain a fishing license, so check with your local Fish and Wildlife Department in order to acquire the proper license. If you only plan on going fishing every once in awhile, check and see if there are recreational/commercial fishing areas near you. Some of these don’t require a license as they’re on private property, and are a better option for the occasional fisher.
Be sure to check the guidelines when getting your license: some fishing spots in your area are catch-and-release only, and others may have limitations for catching certain sizes or types of fish.
Step 3: Purchase Your Fishing Gear and Bait
Overwhelmed by all the options for fishing equipment? Don’t be!
Even if you just go to a big-box retailer and get a standard beginner rod with a tackle box with bait and a reel, you’re golden. Start small: you don’t need to get all fancy right off the bat.
Once you get used to the fishing conditions and types of fish in your area, you can start trying out different kinds of bait and other fishing gear. Local stores that specialize in fishing equipment are great resources, as you can ask other locals what works best for them in your local fishing spots.
When it comes to bait, live bait is best but dead bait or artificial bait are also good options for first-timers. The point of bait is to replicate what the fish in your area are already eating so you can trick them into going for your lure.
In terms of other basic equipment, sinkers help weigh down your bait to keep it from floating up in the tides, and bobbers float on the surface to help you see when you’ve got a bite and a fish is on the hook!
Step 4: Prepare for Your First Fishing Trip
Pack everything you’ll need for a day out on the water: electric lanterns if you’re fishing in the early morning or evening, bug spray, sunscreen, life jacket if you’re wading in or going out on a boat, a first aid kit (in case you stab yourself with your hook), lots of water and snacks, fold-out chairs, your fishing gear and bait, a cooler to store your fresh catches, and a book or anything else that will make your fishing trip fun and enjoyable.
Wear sunglasses as well — in the even that you cast poorly, you don’t want a hook ending up in your eye!
Step 5: Learn Your Fishing Knots
Different knots work with different types of knots. Before you go, practice some common fishing knots with your line.
The clinch knot works best with monofilament fishing line, so start with that one. As you experiment with different types of fishing line you can also try out different knots.
Step 6: Learn How to Cast
This is something else you’ll want to practice before your first fishing trip! Practicing good casts can help you get your bait in front of the fish without scaring them off.
Step 7: Prep Your Fishing Line
Time to get out there and cast your first line!
Using your newly learned fishing knot, tie the hook to the end of your line. Attach one or two sinkers, approximately 6-12 inches above the hook. Most bobbers slide freely around the fishing line and just need to be attached so they can bob on the surface of the water.
Step 8: Get into the Fishing Rhythm
Remember that patience is one of the most important ingredients of a successful fishing trip. Every 15 minutes or so you can reel in your line to check to make sure the bait is still there and recast if you don’t get any nibbles.
When you do get a fish on the hook, bring your rod upwards first to secure the fish, and reel it in, keeping the tip of your rod upwards.
Step 9: Plan Your Next Fishing Trip
If you don’t catch anything on your first fishing trip, don’t be discouraged! Learning how to fish as a beginner can be a frustrating process, but if you learn to enjoy the process and experience, the knowledge and magic touch will come.
If you did catch a fish — great! Start keeping records of where you found success fishing and what the weather/time of day was. This will help you begin to put together an idea of when and where is the best time to fish in your area.
No matter what, get your next fishing trip on the books. The quickest way to learn is to just get back out there!