Fishing is a pastime built into the American spirit. Spending time in nature, enjoying the ripple of water, and experiencing the rush of a taut line when you’ve snagged a big one—nothing could be more inherent to getting close to and experiencing nature! Whether you’re taking to the high seas or cozying up to a local creek, it’s important to make sure that you’re properly prepared so you don’t break any laws, hurt anyone, or damage your equipment before you’ve hardly even started.
Obtaining Proper Licensing and Permits: Before any fishing adventure begins, it’s essential to investigate the necessary permits and licenses that are required before fishing in a specific area. A general fishing license will do, and a copy of local fishing regulations will help clarify for you what fish are in season when, their size limitations, and how many fish you can keep of a certain kind vs. how many you’ll have to cast back.
Rod, Reel and Line: The goal of your fishing adventure determines the kind of rod, reel, and line you want to use. The truth is, there are many different fishing rod models, and they’re equipped differently to help you catch different kinds of fish. A fly fishing rod, reel, and line will be distinctly different from the gear you need for casual pond fishing. If you aren’t sure about the gear you need, consult an expert in a local trading goods store or conservation site.
Bait: This is another nuanced art form, but if you’re aiming at basic fishing, there are a few standard options: nightcrawlers, worms, leeches, and minnows. Worms and nightcrawlers are probably the most commonly used—perhaps because, on a soft day after a good rain, they’re easy enough to find for yourself. Fish are attracted to the blood and smell of live bait, much like a shark in the ocean, but not quite so intense. The trickiest part of using live bait for first-timers is the grimy feeling of squeezing it onto a hook if you’ve never done so before. Good luck!
Practice and Have Fun: Fishing doesn’t have to be a competition, although it sure makes for a great competitive sport. The most important thing to do when fishing for the first time is relax, don’t take the process too seriously, and try to have some fun. Fishing is meant to be a chance to kick back, enjoy some sun, and maybe take in the thrill of the moment when a fish locks in hard on the end of your line and you feel that sudden jerk that tells you you’ve caught something!
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