Recreational Fishing 101 – The Beginner’s Guide
Fishing has always been a popular activity all over the world. The reason you land on this page is simply because you’re interested in fishing in one way or another, right?
As someone who’s relatively new to the fishing scene, I’m trying to document what I’ve learned and attempt to share it with you readers! So let’s get started talking about fishing in general, and we’ll discuss specifics in the other posts…
What is Recreational Fishing?
Recreational fishing simply means fishing for competition or pleasure, in direct contrast to commercial fishing which is done for purposes of profit, or those who fish for a living.
This is a popular hobby for many reasons, and each of us has our own motivation and unique reasons.
For me, I view going out on a fishing trip as a healthy and refreshing trip, as it gives you the opportunity to get some sunshine and fresh air. It is also relaxing and allows you to get away from stress.
If you’ve never done this before, this website can help you get started.
What is a Tackle?
Tackle is the general term that is used for the equipment used to bait and catch the fish. If you’re just starting out there’s no need to bring along a lot of tackle, but you do need to get decent equipment to sharpen your skills. Once your skills improve, you can use more sophisticated gear.
In truth any type of fishing gear can be classified as a tackle, and that includes tackle boxes, waders, traps, gaffs, nets, spears, lures, baits, floats, sinkers, lines and hooks.
The tackle that’s connected to the end of your fishing line is the terminal tackle, and this might include spoons, beads, split ring and wire, swivels, leaders, floats and clevises.
Tackle should not be confused with the techniques: tackle refers to the equipment you use while technique denotes the methods you use to catch fish.
Rules and Regulations
Also keep in mind that recreational fishing has regulations, laws, licensing restrictions and conventions concerning the way you can catch fish. Usually the rules forbid catching fish with hooks on the mouth and using nets.
Even so, there are a lot of ways to catch fish, the most common being hooks, line, fishing reel and rod.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is responsible for overseeing and setting the voluntary guidelines, and government agencies enforce the rules to ensure sustainable practice.
Many countries also have fisheries boards that implement rules concerning angling lures, the kinds of hooks allowed, licenses and other restrictions aimed at preservation.
What Are Angling and Big Game Fishing?
Angling refers to a method where you try to catch fish with a hook. Angling is typically catch and release, wherein the fish is released after being caught, and if it’s for sport, the catch is logged.
Big game fishing on the other hand, is done from sea vessels and aims to capture large fish like marlin, sharks and tuna. Also known as sport fishing, big game fishing isn’t just a hobby but a challenge where the reward is finding and catching the fish. Different types of fish are sought but the most common are mackerel, tarpon, sailfish and more.
What Are The Common Fishing Techniques?
There are different fishing techniques you can try, with the most popular being hand gathering, trapping, angling, spearfishing and netting.
For beginners and most recreational fishers, a fishing rod with a line and a hook attached to the end will do. Usually the rod is fitted with a reel so you can pull the line back in, and there’s a bait of some sort at the end of the hook.
In fly fishing, your reel is joined to the rod’s back end and you cast a heavy line using a whipping motion, sending the fly to the target.
Another technique is known as bowfishing and uses a crossbow or regular bow. In this case the arrow is a specially designed bolt that has barbs on the end, hooked to a fishing line so you can catch the fish. The bow may or may not be equipped with a reel.
It’s good to know the various techniques, but to be efficient you’ll have to increase your knowledge of the fish you’re after, their habitat, behavior and migration.
How To Get Started?
Prior to casting a line, do some research first, and you can start by browsing this website. Now that you’ve got a basic idea of what recreational fishing is about, you can check out the other sections on trout fishing, fly fishing, rods, reels, baits and so on.
Again, there’s no need to buy fancy tackle gear, because at this point your main concern is to get your feet wet so to speak.
You can begin by purchasing a reel and rod online or in a fishing store. Since you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick with a lightweight rod as it’s easier to determine if there’s a bite.
For beginners, spinner reels are recommended, and you can buy the rod and reel in a single package.
Fishing rods come in different sizes, but for adults around 4 to 6 feet is the standard. For kids, it’s 4 to 5 feet long.
As for the fishing line or filament, they come in different strengths and sizes and are known as the pound test. Basically what this means is the bigger the pound test, the more robust the fishing line.
Tips for Buying Gear and Tackle
There are a lot of stores and websites where you can buy tackle, so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. What you need to do however, is to pick and choose the equipment wisely so you don’t end up buying gear you’re not going to use.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on the tackle, but you do have to spend some time on researching each one (the price, the quality, if it’s for beginners, etc.).
Second, you need to learn the area you’re going to fish in. Regardless of the equipment you have, it’s not going to do much good unless you familiarize yourself with the area. A lot of factors come into play such as the weather, the time of day, the fish you’re after, the bait, the current, the depth of the water and so on. All of these will have an effect on the end results, so you need to consider them.
It’s hard to emphasize the importance of research, but in the end you’ll only know what it’s like by going out there and doing it. So once you’ve done your homework, grab some gear and get some fish.