Fishing Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Fishing Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Matthew Davies image of a fishing rod at the beach during a setting sun

There are multiple ways to pass the time, but Matthew Davies feels there are few as wholesome and complete as fishing. Not only do you get to spend time outdoors, soaking up the sun, but with some luck, you will also catch dinner!

How do we get started?

The first thing you need is access to water. Pretty basic. It does not need to be the ocean, or a great big lake, or even a river. A pond will suffice, as long as there is fish in it. You could fish with only a line and hook and still have a beautiful, relaxing time.

Once you have secured your waterhole and confirmed that fishing is allowed, you will want to learn how to cast. A fishing rod is an extension of your arm, helping you to get the bait further away from you. Learning to cast so your bait will not only land far, but also where you want it to fall, and with minimum effort on your part will take some practice. An excellent way to practice accuracy is placing a bucket in the back yard and casting the line with a weight at the end. No hooks or bait needed here. Start by attempting to land near the bucket. Once you consistently land near the bucket, try to hit the bucket. You can consider this exercise mastered when your line lands in the bucket regularly. As you grow more confident, fishing will become more enjoyable.

As silly as it may sound, knots are essential. When fishing, the knot you used can be the difference between catching a fish and having a great “the one that got away” story. There are different knots, some simple, some almost requiring a master’s degree in engineering to reproduce. Keep it simple but reliable. Your knots should not come apart when pulled on. You will use different knots, depending on the type of line you use. Some lines are more flexible than others, and your-go-to-knot would not work on, say, a monofilament line and wire fishing line.

The type of line and gauge will differ as well. A monofilament line is the most popular line. Being the most popular does not mean it will guarantee you a catch. It’s merely the most available type of line you will find and is generally at the lowest price point. It has a decent elasticity but being made out nylon, will degrade over time with exposure to the sun.  For more substantial fish, however, you will find that monofilament takes a lot of room on your spool, reducing the length of line you can have at any time.

The braided line is very robust compared to monofilament. Its strength will allow you to go after heavier fish without sacrificing the length of your line. Braided line does not have a memory, so nests and loops will no longer be a problem. You will find that it casts faster and farther and sinks lower than mono. It is, however, a slicker line, making knots a slightly more difficult task, and being stronger also means it is more difficult to cut. A good, sharp pair of scissors will be needed. If you are changing from mono to braided, you might want to adjust your drag to prevent the line from breaking, as it does not have the give that monofilament has. It is also quite visible underwater, making leaders a necessity. Using monofilament, fluorocarbon, or wire as leaders is a good choice.

Speaking of leaders, this would be an excellent time to bring them up. A leader set up entails using a short length of line with hooks and sinkers at one end, that attaches to your main fishing line at the other.  Using fluorocarbon as your leader is an excellent complement to a braided line, as it is entirely invisible underwater. A wire leader is recommended if you are going after toothy fish, like mackerels and tunas, or pikes.

Let’s explore lures. There are multitudes of lures. You have your live bait: worms and such, spinnerbait, gulps, spoons, etc. Depending on what you want to catch, you will use a different lure. It also depends on where you are fishing. Look at the environment you are fishing in. What would typically be available in this setting? Using a frog where there is no overhanging foliage, or in the middle of a fast-moving river may not work as well. Start with inexpensive lures. Get a few different ones and cast away. Learn how each lure reacts in the water. If you have access to a clear pool of water, look at how the lure acts in the water. Adjust your cast to get the bait to react naturally and enticingly.

Often underrated but crucial tools for every fisherman are sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Protect your head, eyes, and skin from the sun with these simple items, and you will be able to fish to your heart’s content without looking like a lobster at the end of the day.

Finally, your best source of information will be local. Your local fish small fishing store or other fishing enthusiasts have a wealth of information they will gladly share. You will usually find those hanging around piers and the shore early in the morning, or late afternoon, casting their lines, and soaking the sun.  Go ahead and make some new friends. Listen to their stories. They may be slightly exaggerated; I don’t believe there is such a thing as a 20-pound brook trout, but you never know. Listen to them, swap stories, ask for advice. Bring them coffee in the morning, and cold water in the afternoon.

Conclusion Fishing is a complete pastime. You will get some fresh air, exercise, healthy food if successful, and good company. Matthew Davies hopes these tips and tricks will help you get started on this beautiful adventure that will leave you wanting more. Discover the calm beauty of nature, and the raging, earth-moving power of a river.

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