Fishing is a great hobby for all ages. Anywhere around the world you'll find communities of enthusiastic anglers. If you're thinking of getting in on the action, here are a few tips to catch your first fish!
Before going to the water you’d like to fish in, make sure you are prepared with everything you’ll need. I like to bring a camera, towel, gloves, bucket, water, sunglasses, bug spray, and sunscreen.
Secondly, determine where you would like to fish. Every state has their own laws in regards to fishing licenses, but for most of them, you can pick up a license by going online and printing one out with your name on it. Sometimes this is free or sometimes they might cost a little bit of money. Make sure you're getting the right type of license, there's usually fresh water and salt water depending on the state, and some licenses have catch capacities or size capacities (which you may not need your first time out). Having a license is important, you wouldn't want a game warden coming by without you having one your first time fishing!
Next, pick out a pole you feel comfortable using. There are many types of poles and reels. Local bait and tackle shops usually have poles that will work in the area you plan to fish and they can give you tips on which pole and reel setup will work. Other stores, like Walmart, have beginner bundles for a reasonable price. I suggest finding one of those because sometimes they come with a small box filled with lures, spinners, spoons, hooks, and other tackles.
Decide what kind of fish you are going after to make sure you have the right gear. Size of fish can change your decision for a pole and the line strength you use. Hooks are used according to which fish you plan on fishing for as well. For example, rainbow trout are a fresh water fish that are typically caught using a small hook. However, striped bass in salt water will snag on a bigger hook around an 8.0 size. Be sure to research the size of hook you’ll need or ask your local bait & tackle shop. Also, some stores sell a variety of hooks in one package. Therefore, you can test different hooks while fishing. Sometimes, you will feel the bite but not hook the fish. Adjusting the hook size may seal the deal in catching the fish.
Another necessity are weights. Weights vary in size and shape. There are triangular (pyramid sinker), circular, split shot sinkers, bullet shots, egg shaped, and more. This will depend on where you are fishing and the structure of the ground beneath the water. GoFish Cams are a good tool to quickly see what the structure looks like and scope the area. Weights are used for sinking your line to the bottom and for gaining casting distance. For your first time use a bank for the ocean and a slip shot for freshwater. After some experience, play around with other sinkers to see what you prefer to use.
Subsequently, it is time for setup. Thread your line on your pole and tie a barrel swivel on the end. Pick out which hook you are going to use with a weight. If you are fishing from land a 2-5 oz. weight should be sufficient. Furthermore, I typically use a ¾ to 1 oz. weight for freshwater or a couple slip shots for casting purposes.
If you are fishing freshwater you may or may not want to use a bobber. A bobber lets the line and hook float rather than sitting on the bottom. I recommend using a bobber for your first time so you can visually see the bite as well as feel it. Again, a GoFish Cam is a good solution to use because thanks to the live-stream float accessory that comes free with it, you can turn your camera into a bobber and be able to see live from your mobile device how fish are reacting to your bait or lure.
For your first time in salt water I advise using clam because it is a natural bait that is readily available in the ocean. Most species love clam and it is potent in smell. So, it will attract fish to your region. Depending your region, types of live bait work best, and again the most insightful place to know which local baits work best is at your local bait & tackle shop. In freshwater, try using worms because they will be liked by any species. Other baits for salt water are squid, green crab, bunker, mackerel, spearing, shrimp, and minnows. For freshwater baits, there are corn, bread, night crawlers, and minnows.
Practice casting over your shoulder. Grab the line with one hand and let go while casting. It takes time to master a good cast. I used to practice on the lawn before I went to the water so I did not snag a tree and break my line. If you're using a GoFish Cam on your line or a heavier weight, make sure you're using a heavy line when casting. Also try side casting if there's more weight on the line, it'll take stress off your rod's tip.
The last bit of advice I have is to have loads of fun and be patient!
Get the first part of your gear here: