Beginner's Guide On How To Fish

Are you new to fishing? Not sure how to get from having no fishing equipment, know-how or resources to being out on the water catching fish every weekend? No problem. It's a lot simpler than it looks.

First, you need to know what types of fish are in the waters around your home, and what the regulations are for catching, keeping and releasing them are.

Luckily, most of this information will be located on a website run by a department within your state. This department could take on a name like:

  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Department of Fish & Game

Whatever the department name is, you most likely will find it by searching on "[YOUR STATE] fishing regulations" within a search engine. And what may be the most important information you need to be aware of is:

  • Fishing license requirements
  • What is the legal size for the type of fish you will be catching
  • What is the daily limit for the fish you will be catching

In any case, it is wise to spend some time becoming familiar with the site, especially if you plan on doing a lot of fishing.

Once you know the rules and regulations, and have an idea of what you want to fish for, you'll need some basic equipment. The 'must haves' for any fishing trip includes:

  • At least one fishing pole, preferably a style that is designed for the type of fishing you will be doing (i.e., if you're adventurous and are going fly fishing off the bat, you'll probably want a fly rod)
  • If your fishing pole doesn't come with a fishing reel, you will need to get one of those as well
  • Fishing line – get a spool that has adequate strength (measured in 'pound test') for the size fish you will be catching
  • Fishing hooks – the larger the fish you are going after the larger the hooks you will need (be sure to have a number of replacement hooks in case the line breaks)
  • Fishing lures – even if you will be using live bait, it's always a good idea to have some fishing lures on hand to see if they are working better on that given day
  • Odds and Ends – depending on how you will fish, you may need some bobbers or sinkers
  • Tackle box – you'll need some sort of transport container for all your equipment
  • Cooler and Ice – if you plan on keeping your fish
  • Footwear and pants you don't mind getting wet
  • Rain jacket – just in case
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat

Once you have been fishing a while, and have a feel for what you are doing, you will want to increase the amount and types of equipment you have to give yourself more options. This may include:

  • More fishing poles – specialized poles for specific types of fishing
  • More fishing lures – because you never know what will work on a given day
  • A few jars of fish scents
  • Fishing net
  • Bait bucket
  • Fishing pliers
  • Fish scaler

You'll want to have a basic grasp of some fishing terms, so here are a few popular ones:

  • Saltwater – just like it sounds – waters that have a high salinity content; for the most part when you hear this you can think of ocean fishing or fishing the Gulf of Mexico
  • Freshwater – is the opposite of saltwater. It's your rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, which does not have as high a salinity content as ocean water
  • Pound Test – this is the measurement used to denote the strength of your fishing line. The higher the number the stronger the line.

You'll also want to have a few good resources you can count on:

  • A book or person to teach you how to clean and cook the fish you catch
  • Someone who knows the best local fishing spots, as well as the prime times to go fishing in them
  • A good fishing buddy
  • Someone with a boat

Now that you know how to get started, it's time to go fishing.