Make Fishing Your New Hobby
Fishing 101: Getting Started in the Sport of Fishing
If you are reading this article, you have at least a mild case of the wanderlust that attracts anglers to the sport of fishing. Everybody gets involved in fishing for their own reasons. For some, it is the experience of being in nature. For others, it is escaping the din of life, cell phones and shopping malls.
Some love the thrill of the chase: convincing an animal that your tiny plastic, metal and cloth lure is something it wants to eat. Speaking of eating, there are those who just like to fish for the eats. Whatever your reasons, here is what you’ll need to get started in fishing, a sport that has attracted over 33.1 million Americans a year since 2011.
According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), nearly 38 percent of Americans participated in wildlife-related recreation that year, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the last survey in 2006. In 2011, anglers took 455 million fishing trips and spent $41.8 billion in fishing-related expenses. Freshwater anglers numbered 27.5 million and took 369 million trips in 2011. Saltwater fishing attracted 8.9 million anglers who enjoyed 86 million trips. These statistics reveal the widespread appeal of this sport.
Purchase a Fishing License
Hold off on spending much money on the sport until you get your feet a little bit, ummmm … wet. Fishing can be as expensive as you can afford to make it, but one of the best aspects of the sport is that you can get involved with modestly good gear at a very low cost.
Before you get started, check into whether you need a fishing license. Any time you fish in a public body of water, you will need a license. It makes sense to get a fishing license because:
- It is relatively inexpensive ($10-$45 per season);
- It is less expensive than the fines you might receive for not having one; and
- It is the lawful thing to do. (You probably don’t want to start your relaxing hobby on the lake dodging game wardens.)
Traditionally, licenses were available through government offices, but today you can obtain one at most sporting goods stores, your local Wal-Mart and online. If you pass a shop that sells bait, it most likely sells licenses.
Prepare for the Elements
No matter what kind of fishing you plan to do, prepare for the elements. Carrying bug repellant, sunglasses and sunscreen and wearing clothing that limits your exposure to the elements will enhance your enjoyment in the sport. Since you will be standing in or near water, UV rays, especially on cloudy days, can lead to severe sunburn. Whatever you do, make sure you dress, protect and hydrate for the conditions.
Try out a Guided Trip
Assuming you do not have a friend or relative who has their hand in the sport already, you might want to invest in a guided trip or find someone who can show you what they are doing. In the long run, it will be worth your money. You’ll want to let the operator know in advance that you are new to fishing and why you are going. The last thing you want to do is show up on company picnic day while an armada of pros head out for the day, dragging you along like a trolling line.
Going with a guide allows you to try a variety of different types of fishing without making any really significant financial commitments. Most guided fishing trips provide you not only with an experienced angler, but also with a decent rod, reel and equipment. These companies make money creating a memorable experience (read: “I caught a fish”) so chances are you’ll get a leg up on choice fishing spots as well.
During the trip, you can ask all the questions you have. Additionally, the guide should be able to demonstrate setup and casting technique. Whether you are looking at fly fishing, deep sea fishing, shore casting or even spear fishing, having a guide to show you the ropes makes the trip fun, even if you decide that aspect of fishing is not for you.
Another advantage to a guided trip is the ability to dabble in a few different areas to see what you like. Some folks love the real “A River Runs through It” stuff, others enjoy taking a large powerboat out to duke it out with sailfish capable of swimming at more than 60 miles per hour and weighing in at 100+ pounds.
Hook, Line and Sinker
When you have decided you like fishing and are ready to buy equipment, be sure to ask around and search online and at garage sales. Trust me, plenty of folks have jumped in feet-first only to discover that they were too busy or just didn’t like the sport. Somewhere close to where you are reading this right now, there is probably a good reel set hanging unused in someone’s garage. Your first pieces of equipment are going to take a beating as you get used to the sport.
There is no sense in investing in top-of-the-line gear right off the bat – heck, you will probably learn a little more having to work harder in the beginning and will appreciate the upgrades when you decide to invest in better gear down the road. While there is nothing wrong with purchasing quality equipment, you are probably going to bang it up a bit. Replacing top grade carbon-fiber rods can run in the area of several hundred dollars. Save yourself the money and the frustration by poking around for a deal.
Fishing is a dynamic sport and aspects of it offer experiences from peace and solemnity to chase and excitement.
Check out the following links for more information on the sport of fishing:
- National fishing organizations list
- American Sport fishing Association
- International Game Fish Association
- Florida Sport Fishing Association
- Keep America Fishing
- Fishing Tackle, by en.wikipedia.org
- Get Started Fishing, by Missouri Department of Conservation at Weather.com
- Fresh Water Fishing Basics, by Fishingfacts.info
- Salt Water Fishing, by Fishing.com
- The Best Fishing Gear, by Thebestfishinggear.webstarts.com
- Fly Fishing, by Flyfishing.com
- Deep Sea Fishing by Deepseafishing.net
- Fly Fishing for Trout video #1, by Rob Newell at Oysterboiler, YouTube, also see videos #2, #3, #4
- Blue Marling Sport Fishing in Antiqua, by Captain Nick, YouTube
- Get Started with Fly Fishing, by Jarvis Walker, YouTube
- Sport Fishing, by ARCdehooker
- Deep Sea Fishing, by Worldfishingnetwork.com
- Deep Sea Fishing, Massachusetts, by Fishingvideos.net
- Fly Fishing Course, by Anglinguniversity.com, available for purchase at a fee
- Fishing College, by Fishingcollege.co.za
- Saltwater Fishing Made Easy, by Martin Pollizotto at Barnesandnoble.com
- Freshwater Fishing Tips and Techniques, by Gene Kugach, at Amazon.com, available on Kindle and in paperback
- A Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing, by George S. Fichter and Phil Francis at Amazon.com
- Basic Fishing, a Beginners Guide, by Wade Bourne at Amazon.com, available on Kindle and in hardcover