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Is fishing easy to learn? Once you get used to it, it is!

However, you’ll realize that it’s one of the easiest outdoor activities you can learn. All you need to catch fish is do some research, identify a lake, and bring your fishing kit.

Need to learn fishing basics to get started?

This fishing “how to” guide will not only help you learn how to fish, but also about the best fish to catch for beginners!

Resources: Survival Fishing Kit for Sale: Best Salt or Fresh Water Kits

Table of Contents

What do you need for first time fishing?

Here are some of the fishing essentials you’ll need for first time casting, especially if it’s your first time.

A fishing license

Fishing rules and regulations vary from one state to the other. You’ll need to first research and find out your state’s requirements from online sources.

Fishing line

A monofilament fishing line would be ideal. Look for one with the 8-pound test if you’ll be catching small fish.

A rod and reel

A spinning rod and reel will be ideal for adults. If your kids are tagging along, pick a reel/rod combination. Your survival fishing rods should have a firm grip. As a beginner, start first with close-faced rod and reel. Open-faced versions are designed to cast further, but are ideal for more experienced fishermen.


These will help you cut your fishing line. An ordinary nail clipper can be ideal for this task.

Hooks and weights

Combination kits are perfect for beginners because they come with different types of weights and hooks. For small fish, opt for size 6 and 10 hooks. If you intend to catch and release then opt for circle hooks as they’re more fish-friendly.

Split shots

These are small metal weights that attach to the fishing line.

Plastic bobbers

A bobber is a cheap accessory that floats and alerts you when the fish start to bite.


You can get live bait from any fishing rod basics tackle shops and sporting goods stores. These are perfect for most fishing locations. Some live bait options include crickets, minnows, and night-crawlers. You can ask your local fishing basics store for recommendations. If live bait isn’t available choose soft, plastic, artificial bait.


This tool will come in handy to help you separate the hook from your catch.

A tackle box

While it’s technically optional, a good tackle box can help you organize your fishing gear.

A bucket

This will play various roles. You can use it as a seat or storage area for your bait or fish.

Other equipment you may need are as follows:

  • An ice chest
  • A net
  • Bug repellent and sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A fishing ruler or scale
  • Sun protective clothing and a hat
  • A camera
  • A snack
  • Plenty of water to keep you well hydrated
  • A radio or cell phone for communication & safety

Video – Beginners Guide to Fishing Gear

More helpful reading:

How Do I Get a Fishing license?

You can obtain one from the department of fishing in your state. Remember, rules and regulations are different. Here are various things you should know first to make the process fast and seamless.

  • The type of water you’ll be fishing in. For instance, fresh or salt water.
  • The number of people you’ll be taking for the fishing trip and their ages. You’ll pay less for children’s fishing licenses
  • The duration of your fishing license. That is monthly, annually, or even daily?

How much is a rod fishing license?

The price depends on your residency and State. Nonresidents usually pay more for a fishing license. You can buy a daily license which costs approximately $20.

However, an annual license would be cost-friendly. It ranges between $30 and $150.

Do you need a fishing license to fish in the ocean?

In most states, anglers are required to have a fishing license. However, there are some exemptions for kids within a particular age range.

Even when you’re going for a short term fishing trip you’ll still need a fishing license. Lacking this legal verification can expose you to hefty penalties and fines. In some cases, you may end up losing your newly acquired gear.

What is the best fishing rod for a beginner?

As a rookie, choosing the best fishing rod can be difficult.

Remember, one of the fishing basics for beginners is to invest in good fishing reels and rods. Buying the correct gear can go a long way in giving you good value for your investment.

Let’s discuss the different types of fishing rods available to choose from.

Types of Fishing Rods

Whether you plan to go bass, troll, flounder, or salmon fishing, these rods will meet your needs.

Spinning Rod

These are some of the best options for you if you want to learn how to cast a fishing rod. They come with light lures, cost-friendly, and allow long casts. They come with an open-faced reel and a flippable cover. The rod features between 5 to 8 eyes and is approximately 8.5 feet.

You can easily identify spinning rods because they’re small and lightweight. The eggbeater spinning reel that hangs under its rods also sets it apart. Spinning rods are easy to use and comfortable to handle. If you’re looking for a basic rod this would be ideal.


This equipment comes with a stationary spool. Spin casters aren’t designed to cast far and are less accurate compared to other types in the market. However, they’re said to be the best fishing rods for beginners.

Children can also use them comfortably but they should do so under supervision. This is because the reels come with an enclosure that completely hides their spool keeping all critical components inside. This protects the line from jamming or getting twisted. High-quality spin casters are those that come with fiberglass rods.


This fishing rod is different when it comes to the reel operation. It also rests on the rod perpendicularly which explains why it’s often referred to as a revolving spool reel. It’s tackling method is more challenging and you’ll need regular practice before you can master it.

Bait-Caster is an advanced fishing rod that you can use to catch any type of fish. However, it’s perfect if you intend to catch heavier fish. Further, it allows users the freedom to pick fishing lines.

With this comes the need for users to master how to use different types of fishing line setup with this rod. Before using bait caster it’s important to understand the casting brake.


This is a unique rod that enables you to use lightweight lures to facilitate fly fishing. The fly caster is used to pair a specially designed line capable of casting small flies from great distances. You can achieve better results by combining the added visibility and weight of this line with its rod’s unique size and flexibility.

Fly-casters use buoyant and lightweight materials which is why you’ll need more skill and patience to understand fly fishing basics.

More helpful reading:

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod

Grab the end of your rod tip and insert your line through the rod tip, working it through down to the bottom and tying it off with a knot around the reel. Make sure and cut off any excess line in your knot. once this is finished, you’ll be able to start winding your reel to get the rest of your fishing line on. The amount you wind on depends on the reel you’re using. Make sure and check to see what it’s built for.

From here, you can add your sinker first, sliding it on your line. After that add your swivel by putting the line through the eye and using one of the knots below. Finally, add your hook to the line using one of the knots below.


How many types of fishing knots are there?

These will come in handy when you want to catch different types of fish with varying fishing lines. Here are some popular fishing knots.

Palomar Knot

This is one of the most powerful fishing knots that can be used by different anglers. It can be used to fasten a swivel or hook at the end of your fishing line. Further, you can use this knot to secure a fly on a leader when you go fly-fishing.

How to tie it

  • Double approximately 6 inches of line and pass it through the hook’s eye
  • Fasten an easy overhand loop in the double line and let its hook hang loose. This will prevent curling of the lines
  • Drag the loop’s end down and pass it over a hook
  • Dampen and drag both ends of your line to make the knot. Cut off the excess

Trilene Knot

This is a multiple purpose knot that anglers can use to fasten monofilament lines to lures, swivels, and hooks. It’s designed to withstand failures and slippage.

How to tie it

  • Drive the line’s tag end over hook eye twice to form a small loop
  • Grasp the loop between your forefinger and thumb to hold it in place. Bind the line’s tag end around its standing edge around five times. Drive the end back over loops.
  • Dampen well and drag to tighten it.

The Improved Clinch Knot

The Clinch Knot is one of the most commonly used knots among anglers. You can use it to fasten lures, hooks, and swivels to your fishing line. The improved clinch knot is a powerful, simple, and easy to master.

How to Tie It

  • Drive your line’s end over the swivel or hook’s eye
  • Drag approximately 6 inches of line through, double, and twist it between 5 and 7 times
  • Drive your line’s end over a small loop created above the eye, and across a big loop. Exercise caution to prevent the coil from overlapping
  • Dampen and drag the mainline and tag end. This ensures that any curled line compresses against the eye. Cut off the excess.

Surgeon’s Knot

Do you want to tie together two fishing line pieces? If you do, then this knot would be ideal. It’s perfect if your fishing line is different in terms of diameter. It’s easy to tie making it ideal for beginners.

How to tie it

  • Place your leader and the mainline next to each other
  • Create an overhand knot by driving your leader’s long end and main line’s tag end over the loop
  • Create a second overhand knot by driving both ends over the loop
  • Dampen and pull all the four ends together to tighten them. Trim off the tags

Blood Knot

This knot is used to link together two fishing line pieces. It’s ideal for fly fishing and will help you if you’ve got two pieces of the odd leftover line. For this knot, your fishing line should either be close to or the same diameter.

How to tie it

  • Overlay the fishing line ends you want to join. Curl one line around the other to create 5 turns. Bring your tags back amid the two lines.
  • Repeat step one with remaining end enclosing in the opposite direction to create 5 turns
  • Pull your lines slowly in the opposite direction. The turns will bundle together. Cut off the tags.

How do you know where to fish?

Understanding what stimulates fish is a crucial skill. Fish have five primary needs and the trick is in finding spots that are conducive to them.  Let’s look at these factors.

Sufficient oxygen

Just like human beings, fish require oxygen for survival. If water lacks sufficient oxygen fish won’t survive in it. Below are four oxygen-rich aquatic environments.

  • Fountains
  • Waterfalls
  • Bright colored vegetation
  • Turbulence

Avoid areas where there is

  • Sewage
  • Pollution, and
  • Decaying vegetation

Proper temperature

Fish depend on the environment to control body temperature. If the temperature isn’t right they’ll either move shallower or deeper in search of their desired temperature range. When it’s unpleasantly cold or hot, they end up becoming inactive. This means that regardless of how perfect your presentation is the fish won’t bite.

Care from predators

Fish have numerous predators such as raccoons, birds, humans, and other fish. They prefer dwelling in protected areas such as…

  • Weeds
  • Lily pads
  • Ponds and lakes
  • Deep water
  • Submerged boulders, rocks, roots, and trees
  • Under ledges
  • Streams
  • Rocks in the current
  • Deep pools

Appropriate Current

Fish generally enjoy resting in gentle currents. Often they’ll be lying along edges that form between them and swift currents.

Good food

Fish go where they can find food. Be on the watch out for baitfish in ponds or lakes. If you can spot them that can be an indication that game fish are close by.

If you’re fishing in streams you’ll need to watch out for feeding lanes, or narrow fast currents that transport insects and other fish food downstream. Where the feeding paths pass by rocks, undercut banks, or bulging ridges chances are that you’ll find fish.

More helpful reading:

Local Fishing

Some different tips and tricks will help you succeed when shopping within your local region. Let’s discuss them below.

What do you need for freshwater fishing?

Are you looking forward to perfecting your freshwater fishing skills? All you need is a few fishing basics for beginners. These will help you enjoy fishing from various areas such as boats, the shore, bridges, boats, or docks. As a beginner, learning how to fish in freshwater will be easy with the following tips and tricks.

Be organized

Remember you’ll only have limited time to be in the water. If you want to make the most out of your freshwater fishing experience, you’ll need to arrange all your fishing gear in advance.

Choose bait carefully

Your bait’s capacity will determine the size of fish you’ll catch. Make sure your line’s weight matches the bait’s capacity. This way you’ll be able to use ultra-light lures that your catch will find attractive.

Observe the moon, sun, and weather patterns

Freshwater fish are usually affected by environmental changes such as the moon’s gravitational pull. They could also be influenced by the sun’s intensity. Days close to or near moon phases can be the best to make a catch.

Wind can push insects or baitfish to the bottom side of a lake where game fish will pursue. While bright sunlight can disturb fish, they tend to be less active on muggy, high-pressure, and hot periods.

Consider temperature

Most freshwater fish species are attracted by a particular temperature. They also have specific areas where they enjoy swimming more. Get information about different fish species beforehand. This will help you understand the right freshwater fishing temperatures.

Use strong lines and sharp hooks

Having proper tools helps you attract and hook fish with ease. Ensure your lines are free of tear, wear, and nicks. Your hook should also be sharp enough. Make a point of sharpening your hook after every hookup or snag.

Use the right tackle

Ripped baits and twisted lines make it difficult to attract fish. Make sure the trolling and tackle method you use matches your type of bait or change them out. These should also match the fish species you’re attempting to catch.

Wear proper fishing gear

Some of these include sunscreen, rain gear, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Having proper fishing gear helps you get the most out of your experience.

Clean your hands thoroughly

This is one of the most ignored freshwater fishing tips. Did you know that fish have a delicate sense of smell? Fish won’t bite your bait is they smell bug spray or cigarette smoke.

After mastering these freshwater fishing tips and tricks you’ll understand that there’s a wide range of fish species you can catch. Studies suggest that approximately 40% of all fish are found in freshwater sources. Some of the fish you’ll catch from freshwater sources include walleye, catfish, musky, salmon, and crappie.

Saltwater fishing for beginners

Going fishing in saltwater sources can give you different fishing experiences. These range from a relaxed pier style of fishing to the intense adrenaline-filled adventure of deep-sea game fishing. This saltwater fishing basics guide will help you perfect your skills. You’ll also learn fishing tips to ensure you get the most out of your fishing trip.

Before embarking on your journey ensure you’ve got an authentic saltwater fishing license. You can either buy or renew your saltwater fishing license by phone or online.


Fishing is a practical skill. So, why not hang out on active saltwater fishers.  This gives you the perfect ground for practicing. Fishing head boats and parties can also be appropriate for practice.

The best part of this is that you’ll be exposed to committed members. They’re always ready and happy to take you through each step from baiting to reeling. Visit public fishing piers if you intend to learn how to catch fish.

Familiarize yourself with the equipment

While this is one of the most overlooked tips, taking time to learn how to cast & set the hook, tie knots, and use bait is critical. You don’t need to be in a boat to practice these things. Once you start understanding these crucial steps you’ll have lots of fun on your first saltwater fishing adventure and be on the road to becoming an expert!

Monitor the weather patterns

Just like with freshwater fishing, you want to choose the right time of day and location to fish in saltwater. Familiarize yourself with how the sun and moon phases influence your potential fishing spots.

You’ll also need to observe your target’s daily routine. Remember, weather and wind conditions can have a big impact on fish movement patterns.

Pursue the tides

Establish how tides will be like on the day you plan to go on a saltwater fishing adventure. Fishing on an ebb tide gives you the best conditions for saltwater fishing. Generally, the best tides range between half falls and half rises.

Conduct Research on the area

Before you can begin your saltwater fishing activity it’s important to analyze navigation charts and establish the best areas to fish. Learn about different fish species available and the kinds of tackle that are ideal to use. You may want to engage the locals for additional saltwater fishing tips around your area.

Fish along the perimeter

The outline of a perimeter is ideal to start your saltwater fishing journey. This way, only a minimum number of fish will get scared once a fish is hooked.

Know how to identify fish

Beachfront areas with pockets, holes, and reefs are usually perfect places to get the best out of saltwater fishing experience. Channels leading to deeper water would also be ideal to search for fish. Be on the lookout for fish feeding in target areas. Circling birds and gulls can be a great indication of where fish is.

Avoid giving up too quickly

One of the most critical fish for beginners tip is to remain in one spot for some time. Try different bait or lure and examine all areas that seem promising.

Video – Saltwater Fishing for Beginners

Bass Fishing Tips

While you need the right bass fishing basics and boat, understanding tricks that seasoned anglers use will help you increase your catch. Here are some tried and tested tips from seasoned anglers you can incorporate in your fishing plan.

Don’t throw away shredded worms

Always save your worn out plastic worms. Bass enjoys attacking injured prey which makes a damaged worm appropriate to use especially when you’re fishing in shallow waters.

Red will deceive the fish

Consider using spinner bait with a pink or red head on shallow covers such as stumps, wood, and clumps of grass. Use a red hooked crank bait as well. Red convinces fish that the bait is injured and they’ll end up biting it.

Ignore your bait

Once you cast, consider stopping halfway rather than following through. This strategy is similar to a baseball’s check swing. This allows your lure to hit the surface some feet ahead of your target allowing it (lure) to skip over water. This is an ideal way of penetrating under docks and various other structures.

Sharpen your hooks

You can sharpen your hooks with a file before and after every fishing trip. Sharpening is an easy task that only takes 30 seconds. Remember, bass come with boney jaws making a sharp hook necessary to pierce through the fish.

Monitor your Livewell water

Once you place bass in a Livewell, (a tank found in most fishing boats where you keep bait or your caught fish alive) be on the lookout as they can easily spew what they were feeding on. This will help you establish the type and color of lure you should throw throughout your fishing venture.

Gaze at the wind

Create some distance between your fish and cast by facing the wind. Bass usually swim with the current. You want to make sure they encounter your bait and set the hook before they can find your boat. Further, sounds of water hitting your frame will discharge from the area you’re fishing which is a good idea.

Fish in shallow areas in spring

Bass enjoy spawning beds in spring. Focus on shallow areas especially coves and pockets cushioned from the wind. This is where they often like protecting their eggs. During this time the fish will be hungry and catching them will be effortless.

Customize your bait to make it seasonal

Bass will consume different bait depending on the season. For instance, early in the year, they love crawfish. Consider using peach colored patterns then. During the fall and summer bass enjoy shad and you should consider using silver or chrome baits.

Avoid fishing after a storm

The ideal time to fish bass is right before a storm hits. Pressure from a storm makes them more active which lowers their chances of biting the bait.

Disturb the bass

Remember, the bass is an ornery fish. You’ll need to disturb and annoy it to a point that it’ll want to bite your hook. Bass arrange themselves in cover and you’d have to present the lure to them at varying angles before they can finally take a bite.

Video – Bass Fishing Tips

Trout Fishing Tips

To engage in trout fishing for beginners you’ll need to understand various tips. Read on to understand these trout fishing basics that’ll get you started.

Know where to search

Understanding where to get trout is one of the most important trout fishing tips. If you’ve got no idea where to begin then you won’t catch any fish. Trout usually live in cold moving water with most of them running up rivers and streams. However, some trout species live in lakes. Today, farmers keep trout in ponds for fishing purposes.

Trout is a good source of food for humans and other animals as well. You’re likely to find trout in regions where predators such as bears and bobcats dwell. You’ll also find more trout in remote areas because fewer people fish there.

If you want to make the most out of your fishing experience you can organize a hiking trip with your friends. This will give you a perfect opportunity to discover various trout locations. Trout can also be found deep in some of the largest lakes where they can grow tremendously.

Still, you don’t have to go in deep seas to catch trout. All you need is observe the trout’s daily routine to determine when to go fishing.

Use proper equipment

Be well prepared. One great way of doing so is by having the right equipment. Opt for a light tackle unless you plan to catch big fish. One of the most popular trout fish you could catch is a rainbow. This grows to around a foot-long.

A basic fishing pole comes with an ultra-light or light rod, a spinning reel, and a line approved for between 4 and 8 pounds. Inventive new reels in the market today can make fishing easy and fun. Remember, the way you bait fish is critical. For instance, some of the synthetic floating baits available today work well for stocked trout.

However, they’d be ineffective for wild trout fed on the same food. Such baits appear like the pellets used to raise farmed fish. This explains why stocked fish would recognize and love it as food while wild fish won’t.

If you plan to fish for larger trout fish, bait that resembles flies and insects will be ineffective since their diet involves larger meals. To catch large trout you’ll need lures that resemble their real diet.

Consider huge worm, tube, or bug imitators. The tubes should resemble zooplankton that nearly all fish consume. You’ll catch trout fish depending on the type of bait you use. Shake and twitch the lure to make it appear like live prey will catch the fish’s attention.

Consider a natural bait

Rather than using a lure, you can opt for natural bait. This was used since ancient days before the invention of artificial lure. Natural bait is one of the best ways to catch trout as it involves using what they naturally eat. If you can establish what the fish within a particular region specifically eat you’ll be able to choose appropriate bait.

One reliable trout fishing tip for beginners would be to define your approach depending on the location and type of trout. Effective bait may include minnows, mayflies, crickets, and night crawlers. If you don’t know what to use you can always carry a wide range of bait. For instance, you may carry both natural and artificial bait then analyze which between the two is more effective.

To increase your chances of success when lake fishing, find a spot where there’s moving water. This can be where the stream and lake converge. Trout usually enjoy spending time along those regions. If you’ll be fishing in a river, however, identify areas where the water flows slowly into a pool.

Trout never dispense energy by being where there are fast currents. Enclosed spots behind rocks would also be ideal for trout because it’s where they hide to pounce on their prey. This can give you a chance to utilize your bait to resemble live prey.

If you don’t catch any trout after waiting for hours in one spot try your luck in a different location. You can also try using different bait before finally moving.

Understand what to look for

You’ll increase your chances of establishing where the most trout are if you understand what you’re looking for. Analyze the water surface and you could see trout rising to catch insects and other prey.

You can even be on the lookout for birds diving to catch baitfish. If you’ll be fishing in clear waters your mission will even be easier. This is because you’ll be able to see trout swimming under the surface.

You’ll be able to monitor their reaction on the bait and also analyze how you move or twitch your bait. One setback of fishing in very clear water would be that the fish will be able to see you too. This means they’ll evade your bait and catching them will be a hard task.

Video – Trout Fishing 101

What should you not do while fishing?

When you finally go fishing as a beginner you should avoid the following.

  • Being rude to fellow fishermen by either attempting to fish in the same area as they do or running your boat on them
  • Disposing of your old damaged fishing line in the lake
  • Neglecting “no wake” buoys because no one is watching
  • Hit and run. This means you shouldn’t run from one place to the other and make a few casts before finding a new location
  • Drinking alcohol at the lake
  • Disposing of trash in the lake especially glass and plastic items
  • Hot rodding your boat to put the lives of swimmers, water skiers, and water bikes in danger or frightening them with your funny act
  • Keeping fish that you don’t intend to eat
  • Filleting your fish lest you get yourself in trouble with the law.
  • Running your big motor without a fastened life jacket. Remember, draping it across your shoulders isn’t part of wearing one
  • Littering private waters when you go fishing
  • Leave the waters cleaner than you found them

Frequently Asked Questions

Is trout fishing difficult and do I have to fly fish to catch it?

Catching trout fish may not be difficult. However, to catch lots of them consistently you’ll need to be knowledgeable and experienced. Some of the most successful seasoned anglers prefer spin fishing more than fly fish. To succeed in this you’ll need the right equipment and some experts recommend a 5′-5’6″ fishing pole and 4lb fluorocarbon line.

You’ll also need a size 8 hook. For beginners, any brand will work just fine. You can start with cheaper brands until you perfect your fishing skills. Upgrade to more advanced and expensive options once you’re confident about your expertise. Before you can go out fishing research to find out where trout are stocked within your region.

When you’re ready, choose proper bait. This can either be natural or artificial. Make sure you’re conversant with how to catch trout fish before beginning your fishing trip. Remember you can always watch informative videos on YouTube to get an insight into what seasoned anglers do to catch trout successfully.

With technological advancements, you can easily find what you’re looking for on the internet. Get information about proper gear to how to set your fishing line and the knots to use. You can also consult your seasoned friends for guidance.

What’s ice fishing?

It’s a sport where you dig a hole through ice on a lake and use different fishing gear to catch fish. This can be a dangerous activity by with proper understanding and planning you’re sure to find it rewarding.

As a beginner in ice fishing who’s eager to learn you can collaborate with a friend or seasoned angler. Ensure they’re willing to teach you the process and agree on your terms before you can proceed.

Which way does a fishing rod reel?

The right way would be to ensure your spinning reel faces downwards when you’re reeling forward. If you’re using a traditional reel, it should face upwards while the crank should move forward. Avoid cranking the reel backward.

Why is my fishing line not reeling in?

This could be due to a crooked cast bail or tangled cast line. You should begin by checking for any underlying problems in the reel. If you can’t find anything other than the aforementioned you’ll have an easy time fixing your fishing line. To go about this you first need to take out the housing cover.

Turn your reel housing cover counterclockwise and remove it to examine the spool. The fishing line will be out and you can check whether it connects well to its reel housing cover via the thread hole.

Examine the spool and spool-ends. Be sure to focus around the bushings. Find out whether your fishing line is stuck inside the bushing. If it is, remove it with the tip of a flat screwdriver. Examine the cast bail structure to establish whether there’s any tangled fishing line.

If there’s any try to correct it with a flat screwdriver. Finally grasp the cast bail of fishing reels and let go its two ends from cast bail housing. Examine it for any signs of crookedness or bends before putting it back to its case and testing it.

Maybe you’re already familiar with fishing and just brushing up on the basics. In that case, check out this fun shark fishing guide here.

Learn how to catch the best fish today

If you want to move from beginner to a skilled angler try going fishing with friends or family. This group of people will encourage you and learning will become easy and fast. Whether you want to catch fish for food or you’re out to have some fun, these tips will help you improve your skills.

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