Beginning Freshwater Fishing
Whether you're a seasoned tournament veteran, or an angler just beginning your journey, we can all learn valuable lessons from other fishermen. Outdoor recreation is growing every year, and anglers are getting out and wetting a line. Here are a few tips you can use if you are new to fishing or you can give to friends if they are trying to get started.
Freshwater Fishing Gear Breakdown
The first fundamental that we all must learn as aspiring anglers is casting. Start off with a good spinning rod and reel combination. Basic fishing combos include a 7-foot rod, a spinning reel and 6- to 10-pound test line for casting 1/16- to 3/4-ounce lures. Utilizing your dominant hand to grip the rod is an essential element of making accurate casts with this combination. This is one of the most common mistakes beginning anglers make. We also suggest utilizing a two-handed grip when learning to cast with a spinning rod, as it promotes longer and more accurate casts.
Hooking the line with your forefinger and opening the bail while continuing to hold the line is the next step in making a successful cast. Next, pull the rod back so it rotates over your dominant shoulder, sweeping it forward while pointing it straight towards your target. While bringing the rod forward release the line with your finger, allowing the momentum and weight of your lure to propel the line off your reel. Finally, close the bail of your spinning reel with your hand, instead of utilizing the reel handle to close it. This is not only better on your equipment, but also helps to prevent line twist that often occurs on spinning reels.
Basic fishing combos include a 7-foot rod, a spinning reel and 6- to 10-pound test line for casting 1/16- to 3/4-ounce lures.
As with any other newly learned skill practice makes perfect, and casting is no exception to the rule. Even after thousands of days on the water, Josh still make bad casts every time he goes fishing, so do not get discouraged. Start off fishing in open water areas where you can get comfortable with your equipment, and your casts do not have to be so precise. Once you have mastered your basic cast, you can then start casting towards targets to improve your accuracy. Putting too much pressure on yourself, or someone you are trying to introduce to fishing is never a good thing, so try to have reasonable expectations when it comes to reaching your goals.
When choosing your baits, try plastics or live bait for beginner fishing trips. Buying a few packs of soft plastics, weights, and hooks is affordable for almost anyone and is also a tried and true method for catching multiple species of fish. If you are going the live bait route it involves a bit more planning and preparation, but often results in more action even under adverse conditions. No matter which one you choose we recommend only buying enough tackle to fit in a small tackle box or bag to start off with. Keeping the choices simple in the beginning stages of your angling journey is typically the right way to go.
One thing often forgotten when heading out for a day on the lake. You want to make sure you have fun. The cliché saying is "Well if we caught them every time, it would be called 'catching', not fishing". This means catching fish is not always guaranteed and don't let that make you not want to fish again. Its not always about catching fish anyway and if you don't catch a fish the first time, don't let it discourage you. Keep on trying and enjoy the quest to help you really appreciate when you finally get that bite and reel in something. Some of the best times for the crew at AFTCO on the water are memories made with friends or as a child.
Start 'em Young
For those of you introducing aspiring young anglers to the sport, someone who has a lot of experience is Bradley Hallman. Keeping fishing trips entertaining is a huge part of taking anyone fishing, but especially kids. Hallman suggests packing plenty of snacks and making sure your young partners are fully protected from the sun as much as possible. AFTCO face masks and sun shirts like the Youth Samurai 2 are great options to help block out those harmful UV rays. Check out this video by Bradley where he gives tips on bringing kids fishing with his daughter.
Practicing conservation and respecting our natural resources is something that AFTCO is very passionate about. Always practice the "pack in, pack out" method never leaving behind plastic containers or trash, including soft plastic baits and fishing line. Following your state regulations when keeping your catch is paramount to preserving the resource as well. Make sure you are adhering to the size and creel limit if you decide to keep any of your catch. Most of all try to have fun and enjoy your time on the water!