It’s been said that going fishing is good, catching a fish is great. While catching a fish is a great experience and will put food on the table, it’s easy to simply enjoy the act of fishing.
Fishing is an activity that is easy to get into and fun to do, but also has an immense depth to it that difficult to master. I won’t attempt to fathom the depths of the art of fishing, rather I’ll stay right on the surface and give a more minimalist description of how you can go fishing.
All you really need to get started is a stick that is about five feet long, a fishing line that is about six feet long, a hook and some bait. You can pick up the line, hook, and bait at almost any box store for just a few bucks and you can grab a stick from anywhere. Bamboo works great, but any stout stick will do the job.
Grabbing a bobber and some clamp on sinkers will certainly be helpful, but aren’t a requirement.
One final consideration is the fishing license. Most places that sell fishing supplies also sell fishing licenses. While almost every state requires that adults buy fishing licenses, most states don’t require kids to have licenses, but some do so you should check.
Secure one end of the line to one end of the stick using a good, solid knot. Wrap the line around the end of the stick a few times and secure it with an arbor knot. An arbor knot is just a slip knot with a stopper in the tag end.
Secure the hook to the other end of the line with a clinch knot. This is done by running the end of the line through the eye of the hook, wrapping the tag end around the line several times, then running the tag end through the loop created by the line that is right next to the eye of the hook and pulling to cinch the knot.
If you are using a bobber, add it to the middle of the line. If you are using sinkers, clamp them on about a foot above the hook.
Once you’ve got your pole built and your line tied, all you’ve got left to do is to take your bait and get out to the water. If you don’t know where to go fishing, you’ll find that just asking the folks that sold you the supplies is a great way to start. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for advice on good fishing holes. People tend to have fond memories about fishing when they were kids and want to help provide that experience to other kids.
When you get where you’re headed, be mindful of your fellow fishers. One of the biggest attractions of going fishing is the solitude and quietness so plopping down right next to another person on the dock and chatting their ear off might ruin the experience for them. If you’re at a dock or river bank with another person, asking how the fish are biting and what bait they’re using are acceptable greetings and a good way to know if you’re in the right place.
If you’re using worms as bait, you’ll need to hook them. The goal is to try and skewer as much of the worm’s body on the metal of the hook as you can manage. Any parts of the worm that are off the hook are liable to get nibbled away by the fish without ever actually getting a hook set.
Once your hook is baited, it’s just a matter of throwing in your line and waiting.
Dealing with Success
If you’re lucky enough to land a fish, it’s important to be able to handle it correctly. If you only want the one fish, then you can take it home and cook it. Wrapping the fish in a plastic bag or in a sandwich baggy is a good way of transporting it home.
If you want to catch more fish, run a line (rope or fishing line) through the fish’s mouth and gills and secure it to the shore or dock so that the fish stays in the water. This will make sure that the fish stays fresh while you try to catch more of his friends.
Be sure to mark down any fish you catch on your fishing license as well.