Fishing Guide for Beginners

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Hectic daily schedules limit people from spending time outdoors and relaxing in nature; an average American spends 90% of their time indoors. However, people want to break free from this lifestyle and adopt outdoor recreational hobbies like fishing. 2020 and 2021 saw the highest participant numbers in recreational fishing in the past decade.

These numbers make sense as fishing keeps you active and fit. It also allows you to unwind and relax by disconnecting from the hustle of work. Many people find fishing communities, which build their social circles. You can also enjoy these benefits by taking up fishing. If you’re a beginner, here is a fishing guide to help you get started.

1.   Find a Place to Fish

Finding a place to fish is crucial in determining your success rate. Ideally, you want an area that is well-stocked with fish, open to the public, has less angler traffic, and is close to your location. You can use state DNR websites to find lakes nearby. And for better information, consider using crowdsourced apps like FishBrain and FishAngler to find good spots. You can also read local magazines and blogs to find the best fishing areas near you; for example, check this list of universities with the best fishing nearby if you are a college student.

Finding a suitable lake or river for fishing is not enough. You must know in which parts the fish will be in abundance. Fish like to be in areas with a cover that protects them from predators. They are usually present around weeds, under tree shade, logjams, and overhanging banks. A canoe or boat can help you reach these ideal fishing places, which you can rent from boat rentals.

2.   Choose the Right Rod and Reel

Beginners often make mistakes when choosing a rod and reel. They tend to go for cheaper combos, which quickly break and leave them with an unpleasant fishing experience. Ensure you purchase a mid-range rod and reel between $50 to $80.

For offshore saltwater fishing, a 6 to 7 feet fishing rod with a 20-pound monofilament line is adequate, but if you want to fish in deep water, a 50-pound line will succeed better. However, most beginners prefer freshwater fishing in lakes, for which a 6 to 7 feet fishing rod with a 6 to 12-pound line works best. You can also use this combo for catching small panfish on the docks.

3.   Select Tackle and Bait

After getting a rod and reel, you must assemble your tackle and bait kit. You can find live bait and hooks in the tackle shops near fishing spots and Walmart. You can even dig in your garden to find worms; they are likely to present under wet surfaces. Anglers also use corn and hotdog meat as bait, but worms are easy to manage for beginners and have a higher success rate. To bait your worm, cut 1 to 2 inches of your worm and pierce it twice through your hook.

4.   Follow the Etiquettes of Fishing

Every angler must know some common fishing ethics. You must allow other anglers space to fish and not crowd the lake or river. Do not overfish; only keep what you can immediately consume, and do not leave any trace behind. Make sure not to fish during breeding seasons.

You must also understand the rules of the fishing spot beforehand, some areas only catch and release, and others require you not to use live bait.  Maintaining proper fishing ethics ensures a pleasant fishing experience for all anglers and will help you gain acceptance in the fishing community.

5.   Get a Fishing License

Having a fishing license is a must for most states, even if you plan on fishing just once or twice. The license can be bought online, by phone, and in retail shops like marinas and tackle shops. An average state resident license costs $25, but a non-resident license can cost between $60 to $70. The government uses all the proceeds from licensing to restock popular fishing spots and take care of the marine ecosystem.

There are multiple types of fishing licenses and separate ones for saltwater and freshwater fishing. Before you get your license, ensure you know your fishing spots. Most anglers purchase the annual license, but if you are unsure how long you will continue fishing, you can apply for a weekly license. Some states also offer junior and senior fishing permits, depending on your age. These permits are discounted and sometimes even free.

If you want to try fishing without spending on licenses, keep looking for free fishing days in your local fishing spots. These are day-long events organized by the local government to promote fishing. Many beginners attend these events, which are perfect for growing your fishing circle.


Fishing is an excellent hobby; it allows you to relax, connect with nature, remain fit, and meet new people. If you are interested in it, research and prepare yourself beforehand. Despite its benefits, those without fishing experience find the activity daunting and do not know where to start. The above guide provides your brief knowledge on understanding fishing and its regulations. These tips will ensure that your first fishing experience is successful and makes you want to come back for more.

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