Fishing can be an intimidating sport. When it comes to learning to fish, the basics will make you a versatile, confident angler. You don’t need a big boat or fancy equipment to learn to fish. We break down the essential fishing basics for beginners.
Fishing basics for beginners: rod, reel and fishing tackle
When you first start fishing, learning the basics of gear and tackle can be challenging, but it gets easier over time.
A rod and a reel are the tools of the fishing trade. Look for a spinning rod and reel combo with a 6 to 7 inch light to medium weight rod and a 1000 to 3000 size reel. This setup will suit most freshwater or inshore saltwater fishing scenarios from bass and trout to red drum and small tarpon. Beginner fishing gear is available from your local sporting goods store and is reasonably priced.
There are two popular types of fishing line: monofilament and braided line. A 6 to 10 pound test monofilament is a good option for beginners because it is durable, great for casting, and less expensive. You’ll also need 10 to 20 pounds of fluorocarbon leader, which is non-abrasive and virtually invisible to fish underwater.
Remember, it is worth investing in quality hooks. The size of the hook depends on the size of your bait. There are many types of hooks with varying advantages, but a circle hook will work for most types of live bait. As you learn to fish, you will quickly find that split-shot sinkers are an important part of your tackle box. They are small lead weights that will help sink your bait in a strong current or give you distance in your cast. Also, use a bobber to float your line and add a more natural look to your bait for hungry fish. It is also an indicator of a bite when the bobber dives underwater.
Finally, but equally important, live bait or artificial bait attracts the fish to bite your hook. Use bait that is local to where you fish or use bait that is similar to bait fishing near you.
Fishing Basics for Beginners: Basic Tools
Use a simple multi-compartment tackle box to keep your tools and tackle organized. Make sure you pack line cutters as these will be required to cut the lines when you upgrade your pole.
It is best to use a net when handling fish to scoop your catch out of the water and avoid damage to the fish. Then remove the hook safely and easily from the fish’s mouth with needle-nosed pliers.
Fishing basics for beginners: fishing license
Buy your fishing license before you go on the water. In most states, you can easily do this online. Every state has different regulations. So be sure to read them before you throw a line.
Visit our Fishing Section to learn more about the basics and techniques of fishing.