There are few better ways to nourish the soul than a day out on the water, fishing rod in hand.
Fishing is one of the most popular recreational outdoor activities in America, with 40 million reported Americans partaking each year. It’s a great activity for family bonding or a much-needed day of self-care.
If you’re about to embark on your first fishing trip, there are some fishing basics that you should know going into the experience. Having a good background of knowledge can help you have a better time and better results– and you’ll want to make sure you have all the essentials with you when you leave the house.
Read on for all our tips on first time fishing.
Become Familiar With The Terminology
Learning about fishing can be confusing if you don’t know what to call everything. There’s a certain vocabulary involved in fishing that you may not have become familiar with in your everyday life.
You likely know what a fishing rod is, but you may not be familiar with qualities of a rod that differentiate it from others. ‘Rod Action’ refers to the degree of bend a rod permits, while ‘Rod Power” refers you to the amount of weight a rod can handle in terms of line and lure.
You’ve likely heard the term ‘hook, line and sinker,’ perhaps even in its more idiomatic use. Literally, in fishing, you need a hook line and sinker working in tandem to catch a fish.
Hook refers to the actual hook on which you place bait, which a fish will bite into. The line is the cord attached to the hook and rod. Many amateur fishers purchase line that is too heavy for their rods– you should be good to go with an eight to ten-pound line.
A sinker is a small weight attached to the line that helps to quickly send hook and bait deeper under water. The weight is also helpful in sending hooks farther when initially cast.
Tackle is a general term for fish equipment and encompasses all the above, including the rod.
Casting A Fishing Rod
One of the most nerve-wracking tasks for first-time fishers is the casting of the line. Not only is it a new task but sending that metal hook through the air can give newbies to the task some jitters.
You should hold the rod in your dominant hand with the reel positioned below the rod. You should pull out the line from the reel until you have about six inches hanging from the top. Then hold the line against the rod with your index finger.
Open the bail on the reel with your other hand and point your rod at your target.
In one swift motion, bring the rod up vertically, then without pause, begin to bring it back forward. As you send the rod forward, release your finger from the line.
If you timed your release right, the line should fly forward toward your target destination. If it didn’t, it’s likely you released the line too early or too late. Keep practicing your timing, and you should be a pro in no time.
Keeping Safe On The Water
One thing that can’t be overlooked in discussing fishing basics for beginners is the need for safety. Fishing is meant to be a fun activity, and if you prioritize safety, there should be no reason for something to go wrong.
If you’re a beginner, you should always go fishing with a companion just in case. This way if something were to go wrong during your trip, you’d have someone to look out for you.
Never cast near other people and always be aware of your surroundings. This is a big one– if there is any chance that your hook may hit someone during a bad cast, you should not attempt to cast your line. Even if you feel like you can hit your target, it is never worth the risk.
If you’re out on the water, you should always wear a Coast Guard approved flotation device or vest. You’ll be happy you have it if you ever end up in the water yourself.
Outside of your own safety, you should always be conservation inclined in your fishing for the safety and well-being of the environment around you. A good fisher respects natural resources and wants to conserve them for others to enjoy. If you catch a fish that is under the legal minimum size or that you would not prefer to keep, you should release it quickly.
You must be careful to leave no litter behind when you leave your trip. Anglers should never leave behind any sort of plastic trash. Leaving fishing line behind can be dangerous to birds and other wildlife, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave behind any line as well.
Looking At Other Accessories
Besides the essentials, what do you need to fish? Though you can have a great time with just a rod and bait, many other tools on the market can help to make your fishing trip easier or more enjoyable.
Some common fishing accessories are depth readers and fish finders. These handheld devices use sonar to determine the depth of the water below you and can even help to determine if there are currently fish in your area.
If you want to take some of the guesswork out of your fishing trip, you can easily shop now for some great devices.
There are also many rod holders available on the market, which are simple devices that can hold your fishing rod for you while you wait for a bite. Depending on your location, waiting for a bite can take anywhere from a minute to an hour, so these are well worth investing in if you feel like you may need to take a break.
Understanding Fishing Basics
If you’ve read through this basic guide to fishing, you should have a general understanding of how to get out on the water and get going. Like any good hobby, your understanding and appreciation will only grow the more you do it.
Once you get out on your first fishing trip, we hope you’ll let us know how it went in the comments below.