A Beginner’s Guide to Fishing

Guide to Fishing

Fishing can be a relaxing and fun activity to do alone or with family and friends. You may even bring the fish that you caught back home. But before that, you have to be up-to-date with any fishing rules and regulations at the location where you want to catch fish. This will avoid any run-ins with the law. You may also want to purchase a fishing license or fishing pass for the location.

Fishing may be a bit difficult to learn as a true beginner, but once you have everything you need, learned the do’s and don’ts, and mastered all the skills, you may finally reap the results of your hard work. For beginners, we have written down a list of some tips that you can check out before you start.


A lot of fishing rods and reels can last a lifetime, handle a wider variety of fish, and can take a beating. Whether you are looking for your very first fishing rod or want to buy a new one, we’re sure that our list holds a lot of options. Read our article to discover our best fishing rods recommendations. 


Tips for beginners

Remember to always check the location’s fishing regulations to know what is legal and what is not to avoid breaking the law.

How do I choose a bait?

Live bait or artificial bait?

  • Consider what the fish you’re seeking eats.
  • Freshwater baits consist of worms, crickets, grasshoppers, crayfish, leeches, and minnows.
  • Choose good saltwater baits, which include eels, sea worms, shrimp, crabs, strips of squid, or pieces of fish.
  • For artificial bait, you can choose jigs, spinners, spoons, and flies, which come in various sizes, colors, styles, and patterns.
  • Check your budget and choose a less expensive way to acquire baits.
  • Choose a bait for the type of species you want to catch.

How do I set a hook?

  • Stand in a stable position.
  • Before setting a hook, wait and feel the weight of the fish.
  • Reel in slack and keep the line tight with the bait to increase sensitivity and allow you to feel the fish bite and be ready to set the hook.
  • Consider a fish-friendly hook if you need to release a fish after catching it.
  • Usually, one pull of the rod is all it takes to set the hook in the fish’s mouth.

How do I set the drag?

For conventional reels:

  • To set the drag on a spinning reel or spincast reel, you have to test it first by using your hand and pulling your line directly above the reel.
  • Tighten the drag on the spinning wheel. Do this by turning the front drag adjustment button to the right if the line pulls out easily, and if it is too tight, loosen the drag by turning the crank to the left.
  • A small spring scale can help if you feel you can’t judge the force accurately.
  • It is much better to have a loose drag and fight a little longer than having a tight one that can break off.

For baitcaster reels

  • Turn the star-shaped drag mechanism to the right to tighten and to the left to loosen.
  • If using a braided line, test the line by wrapping it a few times around the pliers handle or a pencil because using your hands will slice your fingers if pulled with force.


For beginner anglers, fishing may seem complicated. But don’t be discouraged because once you finally learned the basics, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this activity. If you’re a beginner, check out our article to learn how to use a fishing rod


How do I cast with a spinning reel?

  • Hold the rod at waist level.
  • Grasp it so that the reel is below the rod.
  • The stem of the reel should feel natural between your fingers.
  • Hook the line using your forefinger and open the bail while still holding the line.
  • Pull the rod tip back so that the tip sweeps over your shoulder.
  • Bring it forward swiftly while pointing the rod tip at your target.
  • As the rod comes forward of your shoulder, release the line with your finger.
  • Close the bail with your hand and reel using the retrieve technique.

How do I cast with a baitcaster reel?

  • Hold the rod above the waist level.
  • Grasp so that the reel is below the rod.
  • Your thumb should fall naturally at the bottom of the spool.
  • The bait should be hanging about 8-10 inches below the rod’s tip.
  • Push the button so you can put the reel in free spool mode. Do this by holding your thumb against the spool.
  • Pull the rod back so the tip sweeps over your shoulder.
  • Bring it forward swiftly while pointing the rod at the target.
  • Let your thumb off the spool as the rod comes forward over your shoulder, so the lure can pull line from the reel.
  • Put your thumb back down on the spool.
  • Reel once or twice, and engage the anti-reverse.

How do I reel in fish?

  • Relax and let the drag and your rod do the work.
  • Keep the rod at a 45-degree angle to the water.
  • Aim straight towards the target.
  • Be ready to reel when the drag stops moving and buzzing.
  • When the fish stops taking the line off your reel, it’s time to reel.
  • Try the pump and reel technique for bigger fish.
  • Lift the tip of the rod at about 90 degrees, without reeling the fish in.
  • Reel as you lower the tip back down to a 45-degree angle while keeping even pressure on the fish.

How do I land a fish?

  • Drop your entire rod and reel to your waist as the fish gets closer.
  • Get your rod tip in the water and follow it if the fish goes under your boat.
  • The fish will roll over on its side when it’s tired. That is how you’ll know it is ready to be landed.
  • You will be able to feel the fish if you cannot see it.
  • You can simply lift small-sized fish by hand or using a net, then cradle the fish around the belly.
  • Remove the hook.


Your fishing rod and reel are the most vital components to catch fish, therefore, you must clean them after each use. Knowing how to properly care for and maintain your fishing rod and reel is important to make your investment last many years. Read our article to learn how to take care of your fishing rod and reel


Fishing Rules and Regulations

Fishing rules and regulations are set in place in order to protect the fish populations of certain areas and to ensure that fishing activities will be enjoyed by the future generations as well. Commercial and recreational fishing in the US is managed by NOAA Fisheries which is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The office is also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

Before you go fishing, it is important that you are aware of what you can and cannot do in your fishing location. Not following the set rules and regulations can lead to penalties as well as negative repercussions to the environment and fish populations. 

You can click on this linkOpens in a new tab. to be redirected to the Rules and Regulations page of the NOAA website. This is where you will find the fishing rules and regulations in the US categorized by location. 


Fishing License

No matter what your skill level may be, you need to have a fishing license if you want to go fishing in the United States. Every state in the US requires recreational fishers to secure licenses before they are allowed to fish. The process of getting a license is relatively easy because in most states, fishing licenses can be purchased online. 

The revenue generated from the sale of fishing licenses is used for restoration and conservation efforts. 



  1. Your lure should match the water’s color.
  2. Choose your lures’ shapes and sizes wisely.
  3. Get the appropriate fishing gear to catch the fish you’re pursuing.
  4. If you are trolling, ensure that your lures are swimming in a lifelike manner.
  5. Choose the right fishing line.
  6. Choose the best time of the day.
  7. Be conscious of the currents and tides.
  8. Use new hooks regularly or sharpen your old hooks.
  9. It is best to use a scale to set your reel’s drag.
  10. Do your pre-fishing research.



Fishing is a rewarding activity that can be enjoyed solo or with the whole family. But, beginners need to learn a few techniques in order for them to be able to truly and fully enjoy fishing. 

Aside from learning how to fish, another essential preparation that you need to do before you cast your hook is to make sure that everything that you are about to do is in accordance with the fishing rules and regulations of your chosen fishing location. You may also need to acquire a fishing license or fishing pass, again, depending on what your fishing location requires.

Learning how to fish requires patience and perseverance. Combine these traits with hard work and the tips that we shared above and you’ll soon be reeling in your first catch.

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