A Basic Beginner’s Guide on How To Start Fishing

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If you are passionate about nature and looking for a recreational activity to fuel your wild side, fishing could be the activity for you. The thrill of fulfilling the age-old need of pursuing and catching is why many anglers love the activity. If you want to know how to start fishing, you’ve come to the right place.

For many first-time anglers out there, fishing may seem like a complicated and daunting task. But, what If I told you with the information on this guide, the right set of equipment, and a fishing license, you’ll be hitting the waters real soon? It is actually not that hard and once your primal instincts kick in, you will be making big catches in no time. So, keep reading our ‘beginners guide to fishing’ to find out more. 

What Do You Need to Go Fishing For The First Time?

1. A Fishing License 

How to start fishing? First and foremost, you will need a fishing license for the state you’ll be fishing in. They’re fairly inexpensive, and you can get one online or at a fishing store. Occasionally, they’re also available at convenience stores. 

Both day licenses, as well as annual ones, are available. Unless your first fishing trip is a disaster ( which is highly unlikely if you’re reading this), you will most likely want to come back more often. I recommend going for annual licenses which are also a better bang for your buck.

2. Fishing Gear

What do I need to go fishing for the first time? some of you may ask. As a beginner, a spinning reel and rod combo would be your best bet. I would recommend buying a reel and rod set as a combo, rather than buying them separately. Henceforth, it is easier to set up. An employee at your local tackle shop will be able to guide you in your search for a good beginner rod that fulfills your particular needs. You will also need a pool of mono-filament fishing line( 6- or 8- pound test for freshwater, 10- or 12- pound test for saltwater).

The next set of equipment will be the lures and bait. Good starting points would be live worms or PowerBait( it is a scented clay-like material that can be attached around your hook). Lures are also useful and are decoys designed to attract the attention of fishes.

You will also be needing bobbers, which indicate when you have a fish on. These tiny balls sink or bob whenever something hits your lure. You will need a net, preferably rubber as they are easier on the fish’s skin. You will also need needle-nose pliers to help retrieve the lure once you’ve caught the fish. Also, a small tackle box can come in handy for keeping all your baits and lures organized.

These are the basic tools required for your first fishing adventure. As with any outdoor pursuit, your inventory will continue to expand as you start gaining more knowledge and experience. 

3. Fishing Etiquette

Now equipped with the information on this guide you know how to start fishing. You’re all set with your gear to go catch some fish, but it’s important to be aware of good fishing etiquette early on. Remember to be respectful to your fellow anglers, the fish, and to the environment you’re in.

Never crowd in someone else’s spot. Keep a distance of at least 50 to 60 feet even in the most crowded waters. Always abide by the leave-no-trace ethics. 

Ensure to check local regulation books or your state’s Forestry department’s website to make sure you are abiding by all the regulations whenever you go fishing.

Fishing Skills For Beginners

Now that you’re equipped with all the tools required, you need to know how to get into fishing. This will require a few skills and techniques that we will help you master!


You will be needing to tie a lot of knots while fishing. As you become more experienced, you will learn a lot of new techniques. But as a beginner, these few techniques are good enough to get you started 

  1. The Clinch Knot. The knot is very popular and is used to attach your hook to the line. 
  2. The Double Surgeon’s Knot. This knot allows you to attach two prices of line together. If your line gets snagged and breaks, this is your go to knot.
  3. The Palomar Knot. This knot is known for its strength and is also very easy to tie. You can also use this knot to connect your hook to the line. 


Casting with a spinning reel is actually very simple and intuitive. It is as easy an action as throwing a baseball. Here are the steps. You can also watch some tutorials online to get a better idea of the movement.

  1. Keep the reel below your dominant hand, and start with around six inches of the line out of the rod.
  2. The spinning reel has a bail to prevent your line from coming out of the spool.
  3. To cast, flip the bail, and with your finger hold onto the line.
  4. Using your elbow and wrist cast forward. When the rod is vertical, release the line to send your lure flying and right into the water.
  5. Flip the bail back once your lure is in the water.


Two things are crucial while hooking a fish, namely, you must not allow your line to break under the weight of the fish, and you must not let the fish spit out the lure.

To prevent these, you must set the hook correctly when the fish bites the lure or bait. When you see your bobbers jerk a little, you need to pull up your rod tip with moderate pressure to ensure the hook sets in the fish’s mouth.

Often, beginners pull back too forcibly, causing the fish to break free. A pro tip will be to allow the fish to tire by focusing on keeping the rod tip up and keeping the fish on your line.

This will allow you to eventually reel the fish in once it tires out. And hopefully, bring in your first catch!

While I do know that for a lot of people fishing does seem to be intimidating, it is actually one of the easiest outdoor hobbies you can pick up. For those of you wanting to try out fishing as a fun recreational activity, I encourage you to do so. It is refreshing, thrilling, and gives you a sense of fulfillment. It can also be a great way to bond with your family and friends. 

For all of you who always wanted to try it but were too intimidated by it, I hope this article on how to start fishing  changed your mind. Fishing is really as simple as finding the right lake and gear, casting a line and having some fun.

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Donald Patt

Donald Platt, our founder, is a fishing enthusiast who has almost 10 years of experience in fly fishing. While Donald works hard to put up the most informative articles, he still keeps his Sundays free for a quick fishing trip.

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