How to Start Fishing

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  • Post category:Fishing Tips / How To
  • Post last modified:June 3, 2022

Important Baits For The First Fishing Trip

How to Start Fishing – Ultimate Guide for Fishermen With No Experience 

After reading this article, you will understand how to start your fishing journey. Our material will be useful not only for beginners who are just going to learn the basics of fishing but also for experienced fishermen who want to refresh their knowledge of the basics and learn something new. Scroll down and you will find out everything you need to start fishing!

Start Simple

When you don’t know how to fish and are looking for advice from professionals on the Internet, you usually stumble upon a huge number of articles, publications, and materials that can blow your head. We recommend starting with the simplest – learn only 1-2 fishing techniques, one of the simplest but reliable knots (for example, clinch), choose one or two universal lures, and then continue to accumulate your knowledge. Some of them will come to you with experience, and the rest you will learn from other sources or from other anglers. To go out on the water for the first time, you do not need any huge store of knowledge.

First Fish Caught

Setting a Task

One of the main tasks when you first start fishing is to catch your first fish as easily as possible. Because learning all the aspects and subtleties of fishing requires a lot. And you can understand many things only with experience, on your own mistakes. The basics of fishing are the easiest to learn when trying to catch small freshwater fish. For example, panfish or perch. If you want to go to big fish right away, you will need better equipment, more fishing techniques, and more experience. 

Morning Fishing on the Pier

The second step is to find a fishing spot. It is important to look for a place that is convenient for you to get to. Because you are more likely to go fishing if you have a fast accessible, convenient, and comfortable fishing spot. It’s like going to the gym.

If you live close to the coast, then most of the fish you will find near the piers and large rocks near the coast. Going to fish in freshwater? Great, then the pond is your best option. Almost all of the ponds are filled with bass and bluegills. This is a great fish to start with.

The video is a typical spot for fishing from rocks in Tenerife:

Purchase a License

Okay, let’s say you’ve found a fishing spot. Now a very important step is to buy a fishing license. Without it, local authorities can penalize you and confiscate all fish.

The first time without a license, of course, you will most likely get off with a warning, but if you are caught fishing without a license several times, then you may even face imprisonment. Therefore, you need to decide on which body of water you are going to fish – fresh or salt. This will determine the type of license you are going to buy.

All experienced anglers buy a license every year and are very attentive to this process. The proceeds from the purchase of licenses go to stocking water bodies and managing ecosystems. You hardly need to go somewhere to get this document, because most states allow you to buy a license online and print it out on the same day. You just need to check the license requirements with your state. All of this can be found on the Internet.

Learn To Distinguish Fish by Species

Your state’s fisheries regulations are unlikely to end with just the acquisition of a license. They also include catch limits for specific fish species, species size, number of bags, and specific rules and restrictions that differ from state to state and region to region. Therefore, learn how to distinguish between fish species so that you can understand and follow these rules.

Make a Fishing Rod And Reel Combo

Budget Fishing Reels for Beginners

If you are a beginner and don’t want to spend a lot of money on your gear, you can get everything you need for fishing for as little as $10-20. All you need is a cane, graphite or fiberglass pole, a reel and line, and a couple of fishing gear.

Lines come in a variety of sizes, but we recommend that you choose the 6 or 8-pound freshwater test. If you are going to fish in saltwater, then take the 10-12 pound test.

Also don’t forget to get a couple of plastic bobbers, some BB weights, and 2-3 size hooks (size 3 will be needed for larger baits). If you want, you can buy a small tackle box that will allow you to store all your items very conveniently and in one place.

Also, you can buy a ready-made rod and reel combo. Then you will have no problems with compatibility, weight, and combo performance. You can ask the store clerk which combo is best for a beginner or ask him to pick a rod and reel just for you. Or you can read several articles on this topic, including on our blog. If you are unsure of which type of reel to choose, spin-cast and spinning reels are the best for beginners. They are as easy to use as possible and are available in every store. 

Don’t Overspool the Reel

Fishing Lines And Twisted Threads For The Fisherman

Your reel probably can handle about 200 yards of 6 lb monoline. But don’t over spool the reel. There should be approximately 1/8 inch between the spool rim and the wound line. This is necessary because fresh monofilament will twist to its original diameter, which was on the line spool you purchased. Always wind slightly less line than your spool can accommodate.

Use Live Baits to Get Started

Most likely, when choosing baits, you will be choosing between live and artificial baits. As a rule, live baits are more suitable for beginners. Since they attract the fish best and make them bite. Once you get some experience with natural baits, you can easily switch to artificial baits and use them correctly to get your catch.

The most popular live baits are red worms, crickets, flies, minnows, and nightcrawlers. You can find minnows in a nearby stream and catch them with a net. After a couple of dives with a net in the water, you will have enough for good fishing. You can find crayfish under rocks and in dark places by the stream. They also work great as bait. Red worms and crickets often live in damp and humid places, such as under logs or fallen leaves.

In saltwater, fish like slightly different baits. These are mainly shrimps or crayfish. But trout loves corn kernels or small chunks of cheese. And the catfish loves ivory soap bars. You can always ask your fellow fishermen about the preferences in the bait of this or that fish or find out on the forums for fishermen. In the end, no one bothers you to experiment with baits and look for what works best for your fish.

Live Baits to Get Started

Attach the Line and Tie a Knot

Once you’ve got everything you need to fish, you need to attach a line to your rod and hook. To do this, cut the line about a foot longer than your rod, wrap it around the tip of the pole, and tie it very tightly. Then attach the other end of the line to the hook. You can attach the BB weight just above the hook, right above the bait. Choose a hook depending on your bait. A 3/0 hook is best for long worms, and a 1/0 or 2/0 hook for small shrimp and insects. Tie the hook to the other end of the line in a knot that won’t slip. There are knots that are simple enough for beginners to do without slipping and sitting pretty tight. These knots include Palomar, clinch, improved clinch. Take the time and energy to tie a really good knot. Because, as you know, bad knots lose good fish.

Set the Bobber and Cast

All Floats For Fishermen For The First Time

Once you’ve attached the weight and hook, all that’s left is to install the bobber. It is secured about two feet above the hook. Longer if you are going to lower the bait deeper. Now you simply pull the rod over the water and lower it until the bobber wobbles in the water. Keep the rod steady, parallel to the water level, and try not to shake it.

Keep On Waiting

Now comes the neat and impatient part of fishing – waiting for the fish to bite. Fishing will always require patience and calmness from you. On average, the fish searches for your bait hook for a few minutes, but it can be faster or longer. So always be prepared to wait and keep a close eye on the bobber. As soon as it starts to pull down a little, bounce or shake – the fish tries to eat your bait. You will feel it with your own hands.

Set the Hook

You will notice that the fish is trying to bite your bait when you see the bobber start to twitch in different directions and sink slightly into the water. Take your time to immediately grab the rod and pull up. If your bobber is not completely submerged in water, give the fish 5-10 seconds to bite. Panfish and other small fish are too weak to completely submerge your bobber. They need time to grab your hook. And if you are impatient, and didn’t wait 5 seconds, then you risk simply pulling the bait out of the mouth of the fish. Don’t worry, the feeling of when to set the hook develops over time.

Remove the Fish Carefully

Holder Rod and Fishing Net for Pulling Fish

After the “10 second rule”, you need to start retrieving the spool and placing the hook. First, pull the line so that it becomes taut. Lift the tip of the rod up a few inches to insert the hook into its mouth. Don’t pull too hard to catch fish. Monitor line tension and fish movement and slowly wind the reel towards you. Do not wind too fast or too harshly, otherwise the bobber may get stuck at the top of the rod. You will not only break the line but also miss the fish. When the fish begins to float above the water, lift your rod straight up to direct the fish towards you.

Most fish you catch are unlikely to have sharp teeth that can hurt you. But on the other hand, many (perch, ruff) have very sharp fins, on which you can easily cut yourself. Therefore, we highly recommend that you take the fish very carefully, by the sides or head, but in no case grab the fin or tail sharply. You can remove the hook with your other hand or with pliers.

Releasing the Fish

First Fish Caught

If eating fish was not part of your plans today, then you should carefully release it back into the water. Submerge it with your hands in the water in the same position as we recommended you grab it in the previous paragraph. Or you can place it in the palm of your hand and hold it with your fingers at the sides.

This is both convenient and minimizes the chances of being cut on your fins. In most cases, the fish will almost immediately start kicking and trying to swim away. But if this does not happen, try to move its tail back and forth until the fish starts kicking. If the fish has accidentally died while on land, take the fish with you to eat or dispose of according to state disposal regulations.

My Best Tips for Beginners

Learn To Distinguish Fish by Species

The most important advice I can give you is to fish in a company. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend, wife, or colleague, you will learn to fish faster and be able to catch more fish. Regardless of your partner’s experience, you will either learn it very quickly and gain a lot of experience from him anyway, or improve your skills by teaching someone. It’s simple math: your chances of catching fish are twice as high if you have two lines dangling in the water instead of just one.

Don’t Forget Fishing Etiquette

To be treated well by other anglers, you need to remember fishing etiquette. This is not a very difficult set of recommendations that every beginner can follow.

Be respectful of the anglers who fish near you, the fish you catch, and the environment you are in. Do not stand two meters next to another angler who is fishing. We recommend giving other anglers 50 to 60 feet of space when crowded and at least 200-300 yards when there are few people around.

Don’t leave more fish than you can eat and don’t leave trash behind. Make sure you know all the rules and restrictions of the area you are fishing in. This can be fishing and releasing, areas without live bait, or just fly fishing. This is not always written on a sign near the site, so you will sometimes need to check your state forestry website to find out.

A Couple of Useful Resources

In addition to the general guide, we have put together a few useful resources for you to help you grow faster in fishing.

The first is the guide. Hiring a guide will greatly help you find the best fishing spots and improve your fishing progress. The guides know a lot about the local rivers and lakes and can teach you how to read the water better, choose lures, and look for the best fishing spots. Local fishing communities or your area’s forestry department are great alternatives to guides. Communities can also offer you activities such as fishing derbies, free fishing days (no license), and other activities to meet anglers and improve networking.

Most of the time, YouTube will be your best friend. No matter what you want to learn – tying knots, winding a line correctly on a reel, or choosing a bait, on YouTube you will find guides for every taste and need.

The third is our blog. Our site is happy to present you with a bunch of fishing articles, including for beginners. So if you prefer text information, you are welcome. 


We know how difficult fishing may seem at first. But this is not always the case, and we decided to prove it. All you need is a little tackle, a fishing license, a rod, a reel, a piece of mono string, and a couple of worms dug under a tree by the house to catch your first fish.

In the future, you can easily develop your skills and master new techniques, reels, and types of fishing. While it can be very intimidating at first, fishing can be one of the easiest outdoor hobbies for you, with millions of anglers around the world already connected. We hope our post was helpful to you. Have a nice fishing!

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Tags: #guide to fishing for the first time / #how to start fishing / #how to actually start fishing / #how to fish / #fishing for beginners / #what you need to start fishing for the first time / #guide to your first days fishing / #what you need to start fishing

Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

Affiliate Disclosure: sometimes gets paid for listings, through sponsors or affiliate programs like Amazon, Ebay, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Shimano, Daiwa, Rapala, Renn, Okuma, KastKing, etс. Clicking a link helps keep free, at no extra cost to you!

About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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