Fishing for Beginners – Get Started Guide
Why Do People go Fishing?
If you are new to fishing or it’s your first time fishing, you might be having a hard time getting to grips with why people enjoy it so much. It can seem like a passive sport where you do a lot of waiting around, and you might be struggling to understand why it’s so popular.
People can go a whole day and not catch a single fish, yet they still go back to the same spots week after week. Why is this?
Well, it’s not necessarily about catching loads of fish or even catching any fish. If you are out fishing with some pals, the time spent with good company can be as good as catching hundreds of fish. You get to be outside, spending time in the great outdoors and enjoying the nature around you.
Some enjoy spending time on or near the water. Being around water can be very therapeutic and relaxing.
Fishing is a significant challenge which involves mastering different skills. The challenge you face when fishing changes each time. You need to master how to reel fish, you need to master how to hold a fish; the list goes on and on.
You can always be learning when you are fishing, and once you have a grip on the basics of fishing, there is still so much to learn. The alone time, the peace and quiet and the space to think are all things which motivate people to go out fishing.
So, if you are now wondering how to get started fishing, have a read through our fishing tips for beginners to get a taste for the sport. You don’t need to go out and get a load of fishing accessories, like an underwater fishing camera, a fishing backpack, and fishing gloves before you have got a feel for it.
Different Types of Fishing
Fishing is a vast sport, and there are more than a handful of different types of fishing you can try your hand at. Some are easier than others, and from freshwater to saltwater, to kayak fishing, there will be a type of fishing out there that suits you.
• Freshwater fishing: fishing in water which has a minimal salt content. These will be places like lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.
• Saltwater fishing: fishing in the sea or ocean, where the water has a high salt content. You can fish in shallow and deep waters, but deep waters are for the more experienced.
• Fly fishing: you lure your fish on a hook by getting them to bite on an imitation fly, which sits on top of the water. You might have seen people wading into rivers and casting out lines; they were probably fly fishing.
• Ice fishing: using a special tool to make holes in the ice, and then catching fish through the opening you have made. Extra tools are required, so it’s not the first fishing trip you should be taking as a novice. Depth and fish finders are really helpful if you are ice fishing, as you can’t see what is going on down there. The best fish finder will make your fishing life a lot easier!
• Shore fishing: fishing from the shore or the bank. The best thing about this is that most people will have access to a shore of a bank relatively close to home. Shore fishing is a great place to start.
• Kayak fishing: fishing from a kayak, which is a small boat. You can do this in both freshwater and saltwater, and there are loads of cool gadgets like portable fish finders that you can use to help you with this.
What is the Best beginner Fish to Catch?
If you’ve got the kids screaming “take me fishing” and you need a helping hand with the easiest fish to catch, here’s a list of the best fish for beginners.
• Burbot – these guys are pretty common and they eat almost anything; making them easier to catch. They are weak fighters once they are on the hook, and they tire quickly.
• Trout – there are lots of different types of trout, and some of the most common are brown and rainbow trout. They are great at adapting, so you can find them in abundance in loads of places. They bite for a wide variety of bait but they are clever, so you might have to switch it up a bit to catch one.
• Bass – these fish are aggressive, and they want to pursue your bait, this makes them easier to catch. They are popular to fish because of their nature so they might not fall for a simple lure.
• Perch – they are common, they are aggressive feeders and are considered an invasive fish. They are attracted to different types of bait, so you are more likely to catch one, but they are known to put up a fight.
• Crappie – they are similar to perch and are also considered an invasive fish. They are a schooling fish so you might find that once you catch one, you keep reeling them in.
• Catfish – you can find these all over the place, and they eat pretty much anything as they are scavengers. You are more likely to catch a catfish with bait rather than a lure – there’s a sneaky little tip from our fishing 101.
• Sunfish – you can catch these without even trying. These are the number one fish when it comes to fishing for dummies because they seem to just jump onto your hook! These little fish will go for smaller lures and bait due to their size.
How to Catch Fish
Catching a fish can be easier said than done, and us trying to tell you how to catch a fish is also easier said than done.
Would life be easy if we could just tell you how to do it! Fishing takes practice, and you might not be a fishing superstar right from the off. Make sure you stay patient and keep trying, and soon enough you will have the hang of it.
Don’t get disheartened if you haven’t caught a net full of fish on your first outing. Any seasoned angler will tell you it just doesn’t work like that, and even the best fishers can have days where they don’t catch anything.
Mastering the following basics will help you catch fish, and the more you catch, the more you improve.
How to put line on a fishing reel
The best way to learn how to put a line on a reel is to watch it being done and do it yourself at the same time.
There are loads of videos out there which will show you cast on methods. If you want to know how to do it yourself here’s a quick explanation to get you started.
1. Open up the bail on you reel
2. Tie the line on the arbor using an arbor knot
3. Place the spool on the floor with the label facing up (you need to load the line on the reel the same way it comes off the spool)
4. Apply light pressure to the line as you give the handle on your reel about 20 turns. Applying pressure stops the line going loose and causing your problems
5. Stop and check your line for twists by letting the lie go slack. If it is twisting, start again and turn your spool over and try it on the other side
6. Keep filling your spool until it is about 1/8th of an inch from the rim of your spool. You don’t want to overfill or underfill
How to bait a hook
Baiting a hook is easy once you know how. Let’s assume you need to know how to hook a worm. Try not to be too squeamish about baiting your hook with a worm.
The first few times you do it, it might not be the most pleasant of things, but you will soon get used to it. Let’s start with standard baiting, as this will do you fine as a beginner.
1. Get yourself some worms and a sharp hook, having a sharp hook will make this process much easier
2. Position your hook, so the barbed (sharp) end is pointing upwards
3. Pass the hook through the worm, so it goes all the way through, making sure you aren’t hooking it too close to either end (about ½ a cm from either end is best)
4. Push the worm up the hook to it is closer to the knot
5. Push the longer end of the worm through the hook again, repeating this step until you have reached the end of the worm
6. Space the worm out, so it isn’t all at one end of the hook. You need some of the worm to be near the barb of the hook to encourage the fish to bite there
How to cast spinning reel
The next step is to learn how to cast. Once you are a dab hand at casting, fishing is a whole different ball game.
There are loads of helpful videos to show you how to do this, but this explanation should give you an idea on how to use a spinning reel.
1. Hold your rod or catching pole in your dominant hand
2. Position the rod so it is horizontal and the reel is below the rod and facing downwards
3. Slowly reel in your line, until there is about a foot of line hanging from your rod
4. Make sure the line roller is aligned with your rod
5. Pull the line off the roller with your finger and hold it against the grip
6. Use your other hand to flip the bail of the reel upwards
7. Bring your rod back over your head, so it is just past vertical
8. Make a forward throwing motion and release the line you have under your finger just as your arm goes past 45 degrees
Once you have caught a fish, you might want to release it again. When you are releasing a fish, you want to make sure it survives and lives on in the best way possible. You need to make sure you handle the fish properly during catch and release to give it the best chance.
Use barbless hooks: these will give you the best chance of being able to easily remove your fish from the hook and release it safely. Hooks can cause damage to fish, and you might want to use barbless ones if you are going to release your catches.
If you can’t easily remove the hook, leave it in: if a hook is deeply embedded you can do more damage trying to get it out. Cut it as closely as you can and leave the hook in. The fish will either shed the hook, it will corrode, or new tissue will grow around it.
Use a net: using a landing net will help you release a fish without having to handle it. You can get a good catch and release nets which are affordable.
Watch the head and eyes: take care of their eyes and head when you are landing them and releasing them. They need both of these to function effectively!
Don’t leave a fish out of water for too long: 5 seconds is about as long as you should be removing a fish from the water for. This is long enough to get a decent photo, and you can take them out a few times until you get the perfect shot.
Revive your fish properly: face your fish upstream or into the current and let it breathe. Your fish will let you know when it is ready to swim away and you can release it.
How to keep fish fresh while fishing
Once you have caught fish, you have a couple of options when it comes to keeping them fresh. You can either keep them alive before you take them home, or you can store them once you have killed them.
If you wish to keep them alive, one option is to have a stringer in the water, but it is possible your fish may escape. You can also purchase a large bucket with an aerator or a self-closing basket that you can place under the water.
If you aren’t keeping your fish alive, you will need to get a couple of insulated boxes and fill one with ice. You can place the fish in the empty bin and use the ice from the other bin to place them in to keep them fresh while you finish off your fishing expedition.
How to gut a fish
Now you have caught your fish and got it safely home, you will need to learn how to clean a fish. You can’t get to eat your fish before you have got rid of all the horrible bits!
Scaling a fish is the first part of the process. To get rid of the scales on your fish, take a knife and run the back of the knife up the fish. Cleaning fish can get a bit messy so watch out, and make sure you are doing this on an easily cleaned surface.
Take your knife and make an incision in the belly of the fish at the tail end. Cut through the skin, all the way along the belly until you reach the head.
Remove the guts, any roe, and the gills. This should all come out easily without too much trouble.
Rinse your fish with cold running water, until the water runs completely clear. Dry it, then cut off the fins.
How to fillet a fish
When you are filleting fish, make sure you take it slowly. Practice makes perfect, and you will improve as you go along.
The best fish fillet knife is a sharp one. If your knife is nice and sharp you will find this much more manageable.
1. To fillet your fish, make a cut around the head and cut just below the gills as well, on both sides.
2. Now remove the head
3. With the tail facing towards you, run the knife down the spine of the fish towards the tail, using a slicing motion
4. Do this until the fillet comes away
How to freeze and refrigerate fish FAQ
Where should you store raw fish in a refrigerator?
Store fish at the bottom of the fridge to avoid any nasty drips getting on the rest of your produce.
How long does freshly caught fish last in the fridge?
Fish doesn’t last long, even in the fridge. It will last a couple of days at most, and then it will be past its best. If you can store the fish on ice in the fridge, this is best.
How long does fish last in the freezer?
Most fish will keep at top quality in the freezer for around 2 to 3 months. Much longer than that and the quality will start to decline.
How to freeze fish
Make sure your fish is clean before you freeze. Place it in a freezer bag or a box and clearly label it with the date and the type of fish.