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How to Start Fishing — A Guide for Beginners

How to Start Fishing — A  Guide for Beginners
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As a new angler, fishing might seem like a difficult task, but it isn’t. As long as you have your fishing gear and the information on how to fish, you won’t find it complicated. In this article, you will be informed about all the things you need to know now that you want to start fishing. The easiest way to get outside and catch fish as a beginner is by spin fishing.

Spin fishing involves using a spinning rod and reel, fishing line, and a lure or bait. This fishing method is less expensive and there’s a minimal investment involved, unlike other methods such as ice fishing, fly fishing, and saltwater fishing. You can develop interests in these other methods later on when you’ve learned the basics of fishing and tried spin fishing. So, in this article, we will be focusing on the spin fishing method to help you learn how to start fishing. Let’s get started.

The Basics of Fishing

Fishing License

You should never try to fish without a license to do so. If you had a license a long time ago that has expired because you never used it or learned how to fish, you’ll need to renew it. Get a current fishing license for whatever state you will be fishing in.

You may be wondering where to get a fishing license and if it’s going to cost you a fortune. On the contrary, you can get your licenses online or at fishing shops for as little as $20 or even less. Although the price varies depending on your state of residence, it is never too expensive. If you’re a non-resident, the price for the fishing license is usually higher but still affordable.

These licenses are renewed annually and the cost usually ranges from $20 and $150. Once you start enjoying fishing, you may find yourself getting a license for the next year.

Fishing Etiquette

Have you ever heard of fishing etiquette? It is what you should and shouldn’t do when fishing with other anglers. If you do something wrong, it might cause a quarrel. You don’t want this to happen when fishing for the first time and you probably haven’t even gotten your first fish.

  1. Never go fishing on a spot another angler has taken. There’s a lot of fish in the water. You have to give other anglers enough space (at least 50 – 60 feet if there are many people around). This will help both you and the other angler take something home for the day.
  2. Respect the environment you’re fishing in, other anglers you find there, and the fish you catch.
  3. Do not take more fish than you can consume.
  4. Make sure you know what type of fishing is allowed in the area you’re going to fish. For instance, some areas are limited to catch and release, fly fishing, or artificial lures only (i.e. no live bait). You can find this information on your state’s forestry department website. It should have enough information on your fishing environment and what you should and should not do.

Watch this video to learn about some other unwritten laws of fishing.

Finding the Right Fishing Spots

When you want to start fishing for the first time, you may not know the best place to go in the region. So, how do you find it?

The best way to get a proper fishing location is to talk to someone around. There are people who have gone fishing in the area recently. They will definitely know the best and current place for you to find fish. Also, they could give you some information about the local waters that you may not get anywhere else.

There are also fishing applications such as Fishbrain and Fishangler that give you enough information about local fishing spots.

As a beginner, it is better to go fishing in the lake than in rivers. Rivers have less hungry fishes than you would find in a lake. Moreover, lakes have a bank or dock where you can fish from. Some examples of the different types of fishes you can find in a river include the rainbow cutthroat and brown trout. In lakes, you can find fishes like the bass, panfish, and rainbow trout, among others.

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Getting Your Fishing Gear

As mentioned above, as a beginner, you’ll need a spinning rod and reel for spin fishing.

The fishing rod and fishing reel are usually sold together, so you don’t get one without the other. Because of this, they are usually very easy to set up. Assembling the equipment will be more difficult if they were sold as parts, because they would be more diverse and different parts by different manufacturers may not fit.

And if you are up for a DIY challenge, then you may want to check out our article on how to make a fishing rod to make one for yourself.

After purchasing the rod and reel, you want to get your bait and lures. Without bait, there’s no way the fish would stick to your hook. In fact, you will never get any fish. You can always start safely by using live worms as bait. You can also find puttylike materials called PowerBait that you can put around a bare hook.

Lures are artificial. They are decoys used to get the fish’s attention because they resemble small insects or fishes that they can prey on. Many people get lures after they’ve started using bait. They are more comfortable with it at that point.

Some equipment you also need to purchase before you start fishing includes a small tackle box to store all your lures and bait, a rubber net to hold your fish, a floating ball that sinks when you catch a fish, and needle-nose pliers to get your lure back from the insides of the fish.

After a few months of fishing, you’ll definitely want to upgrade your gear and try on new things. You can purchase equipment for a new type of fishing and even get boots later.

Click here to buy the PLUSINNO Full Fishing Kit on Amazon

Skills to Learn Before You Start Fishing

Reading the Water

If you don’t know how to tell what parts of the water and when you’ll find fish in abundance, you may not be able to catch fish. Reading water is a skill that you develop over time when you start fishing.

You would be able to catch more fish in lakes when canoeing or kayaking. This is because, in lakes, fishes congregate near drop-offs. They also usually hang around weeds and downed trees near the shore. That’s why you can also catch fishes by standing at the shore.

When fishing in rivers, you should also focus on places where there is good covering. Fishes aggregate around these areas because they are trying to hide from predators.

Check out this video to learn how to read the water:

Knot Tying

Knowing how to tie a knot us essential when you want to start fishing. There are various books that teach you how to tie different types of knots. But here, we will mention the types of knots you need to learn to get started.

  1. The Clinch Knot – The clinch knot is the most important knot in fishing. It is used to attach your hook or lure to the fishing line. So, if you don’t have this knowledge, you can’t fish at all.
  2. The Double Surgeon’s Knot – Sometimes when fishing, your fishing line breaks. This could happen due to several reasons, one of which includes when your lure gets caught on a log of wood or rock. The double surgeon’s knot is used to attach or connect two pieces of the line.
  3. The Palomar Knot – Just like the clinch knot, the Palomar knot is used for connecting your hook to your line. It is very strong and easy to tie.

There are other types of knots you can learn after fishing for a while. But as a beginner, these are the basic knots you need.

You can also check out this detailed article on how to tie fishing knots. It features all the knot types including the beginner knots. You also get to watch tutorial videos on how to tie each knot.

How to Catch Your First Fish

Now that you know all about the equipment needed to fish and things you must do when fishing, it is time to catch your first fish.

In this beginner’s guide to fishing, we would be grouping this procedure into three major steps – cast, hook, and land.


Casting is the process of getting your lure into the water. It is a very simple process that is done with your spinning reel. Holding the spinning rod in your dominant hand, start with about six inches of fishing line which sticks out at the end of your rod.

Your spinning reel which is at the bottom of your dominant hand has a wire arm called a bail which prevents your line from coming out under the spool.

When you want to cast, you’ll follow the same motion as you would if you want to pick something from a table. Firstly, flip the bail. Then, use your finger to hold the line. Raise the rod tip and cast forward using your wrist and elbow. Make sure that the rod is vertical or close to it before releasing your lure. When your lure lands in the water, flip the bail again and start reeling.

How to start fishing
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Once a fish gets your lure, there’s a probability that it might escape. This could either happen if the fishing line breaks or if the fish spits out your lure. Now, you have to prevent this from happening. When you see your bobber jerk in the water, you have to set the hook at the right time and applying the right pressure.

When you notice that your lure is inside a fish, point the rod tip upwards and pull back gently to avoid ripping any part of the fish’s lips while keeping the lure in its mouth. If you do this at the right time, your lure should be staying around your fish’s lip and not deep in its mouth.

You shouldn’t reel immediately you hook your fish. Doing so may result in your line breaking as a result of the heavyweight of the fish. So, let the fish continue to struggle until it gets tired. When it does, you can then reel it in because it has lost the power to resist.

Before you start fishing, make sure you know your reel’s drag system. Every reel has different drag systems (i.e. drag dial) that allow your reel to handle based on the size of fish you catch. If you expect to catch a small fish, you will need less drag than if you are catching a larger fish. When catching a larger and stronger fish, apart from more drag, you also need a bigger reel to hold the fish.


After you’ve cast with your spinning reel, hooked your fish, allowed it to wrestle, and finally reel it in, you have to ensure that it lands properly. Once the fish you caught is close to the shore, i.e when it is at arm’s length, use a net to bring it in. This prevents it from flopping onto the bank and hitting a rock.

If you’re going to release the fish, you don’t want it hurt before dropping it back in the river or lake. Also, don’t keep it out of the water for too long, and do not touch its gills or squeeze its stomach if you’re returning it.

Watch this video to learn how to catch fish in saltwater:


Whether you’re carrying out freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing, the principles are almost the same, but the fishes you would find in the water are different. Apart from following the guide above, you can also improve your knowledge and fishing skill by carrying out some activities which include:

  1. Hanging out with other anglers: By doing this, you would be exposed to other fishing gear and techniques.
  2. Hiring a guide: If your read this article and you still find it difficult to catch a fish, or you’re not catching one as frequently as you want to, hiring a guide will help you achieve this faster. Even if you’re doing good with the spin fishing method, hiring a guide will help you get even better and you also learn other fishing methods you may be interested in.
  3. Watching Youtube videos: Youtube is available to everyone with an internet connection. You can find various Youtube videos about fishing which you should watch to improve yourself.
  4. Participate in local fishing organizations to meet more anglers and learn more. These local organizations in most states hold fishing derbies, free fishing days, and many other events that allow you to meet other anglers.

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