Fishing for Beginners: Everything You Need To Get Started

Fishing dates back thousands of years, but the sport is still extremely popular today. While some fish for food and other fish for fun, many avid fishermen grew up fishing. If you’re new to fishing, however, now is a great time to join in on the fun. 

Learning how to fish takes time and practice, but it also requires some essential gear. You can’t go fishing without some basics like a rod, reel, and other fishing gear, whether you borrow it or purchase your own. For those who are just starting out, we’ll break down the essential fishing gear you’ll need to start on your new activity. 

Fishing License

Whether or not you need a license will depend on where you’re fishing. There are state laws, local laws, and often laws specific to each body of water that you must abide by, and many require a fishing license. Before you get out on the water, ensure that you have a valid fishing license, and check your state’s fishing laws so that you know the rules and regulations to follow. 

Fishing Rod

A fishing rod is one of the most basic necessities of fishing – it would certainly be hard to catch a fish without one. Depending on the type of fishing you plan to do, where you’re fishing, and what type of fish you plan to catch, there are different rods and factors to consider when you purchase one.

The first decision you should make when buying a fishing rod is whether you want to use a conventional casting rod or a spinning rod. Spinning rods are easier to master, so they are the more popular choice among young or beginner fishermen. Baitcasting rods are typically preferred by professionals, however. No matter what kind of rod you choose, research what length, action, and material is best for your style of fishing to get the best rod for you

Fishing Reel

A fishing reel may not sounds as obviously essential as a fishing rod, but without a reel your rod is useless. Fishing reels are also divided by casting reels and spinning reels, so get the style that matches your fishing rod. Spinning reels, like rods, are typically easier to learn to use for beginners. 

There are also fishing reels made specifically for surf fishing, ice fishing, fly fishing, or even specific to the type of fish or casting style of choice. Figure out what will work best for you and invest in a quality reel. Fishing reels can break fighting tough fish, so buy yourself a durable reel made of quality components that will last. 

Fishing Line

Equally essential, fishing line is what your rod and reel will use to cast and retrieve fish. Fishing line may seem simple, but there are actually various types of lines and manufacturers, so there is plenty to consider when choosing a fishing line.

There are three main types of fishing lines: monofilament, braided line, and fluorocarbon. Monofilament is the classic fishing line with a little more give, the braided line tends to be stronger and more heavy duty, and fluorocarbon is a stronger line that is often used as a leader rather than a mainline. Each type of line also has factors to consider line strength, stretch, size, and more.

Tackle

Tackle is what goes on the end of your fishing line, attracting and then catching the fish. Tackle is a broad category that includes various items, including hooks, weights (also called sinkers), swivels, bobbers, and, of course, bait and lures. 

Bait generally refers to live tackle, like minnows, shrimp, worms, or other baitfish. Lures are artificial and mimic real baitfish, but can be reused. Both work well, and most anglers use both live bait and artificial lures. There are seemingly endless types of lures and bait you can use, so research what works best for your location, season, and species. 

Pliers, Scissors, a Knife

There are some more basic tools that you’ll also need as a fisherman. One such item is pliers – ideally needle-nose pliers. These are used to pull the hooks out of fish’s mouths when they are caught. Using your fingers is not safe, as you could cut your hand on the hook or the fish’s sharp teeth. 

Aside from the pliers, most anglers have scissors, a knife, or both on hand for cutting line. A knife can also be used to fillet the fish if you plan to keep it. Many fishermen invest in a multi-tool that can consist of pliers, a knife, scissors, and more. 

A Cooler

If you’re fishing for keeps, you’ll need a cooler to store fish to take home. You may also need a cooler for keeping bait cold and aerated. Invest in a nice cooler that will last, and store it with your best catches. 

Even if you plan to catch and release, you may want to pack a cooler for yourself. It’s important to stay hydrated when spending long days in the sun, so pack clean water. If you’re fishing for a full day, pack a lunch or snacks as well.

First Aid Supplies

Fishing is fun, but it can be dangerous. Be sure to pack a first aid kit with at least the most basic supplies in case of an injury. As mentioned above, you should also pack clean water and make sure everyone stays hydrated, especially on hot days. 

In addition to staying hydrated, it is important to stay safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Even on overcast or cloudy days, you can get a sunburn. Pack sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun off of your face.