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Outdoor Fun: A Guide to Fishing


Fishing is one of the most common and oldest pastimes in the U.S. and across the world. For many who participate in the sport, it is a way to relax or unwind. Other people may enjoy fishing for the sporting aspects of it and the thrill of an impressive catch. Regardless of one's reasons it is often enjoyed by both men and women, and it is easy to learn. Often people learn to fish from their parents as it is a fun way for a family to bond and spend time together. Although fishing is a simple sport to learn, there are key elements and certain requirements that people must learn.

Learning the Basics

When teaching someone to fish, or when one is learning to fish, it is important to start with the basics and work up toward more advanced skills. Pole fishing, which is a method of line fishing, is the most common method of fishing for people who fish recreationally. It is also the easiest way to start. One of the first places to start is by purchasing a rod and reel. One should select a rod that is suitable for the age and skill level of the novice. Once a rod and reel have been selected, the beginner must be taught how to prepare it, and how to cast it. He or she must also be taught how to attach the hook, bait, and bobber. Before fishing for the first time, one will have to follow state laws for fishing. This will typically include obtaining a fishing license. When the beginner has caught his or her first fish, they then must learn the correct method of reeling it in and how to remove the hook properly. For catch and release, it is important that the novice fisherman is taught the correct way to release the fish without harming it.

Types of Fishing

There are numerous methods, or techniques, when it comes to fishing. These methods generally fall under one of three primary types of fishing. These types include netting, line fishing, and spearfishing. Trapping is also a type of fishing that is often used for catching shellfish. Netting is a type of fishing in which fishing crews use nets of various shapes and sizes to capture large amounts of fish. Line fishing, which may also be referred to as angling, uses a line, a hook and often some form of bait or lure. Spearfishing is a highly skilled type of fishing that involves the impalement of fish by fishermen.

Fishing Safety

Despite the relaxing nature of fishing, there is a genuine threat of injury that people must take seriously at all times. One of the common ways that people injure themselves or others involves fishing hooks. A careless hook can catch someone in their skin or even in the eye. To avoid this, the person who is casting the line must always look and check that there is no one behind him or her, or within range of the line. Hooks should always be put in their proper place when not in use to avoid stepping on them or other accidents. Caution should also be exercised when handling fish with teeth, such as the Northern pike, and one should never place their hand within the open mouth to remove the hook. The proper flotation devices should be worn when fishing by boat. This is particularly true for small children. In addition, people should always wear shoes when fishing. Shoes help protect the feet from injury and reduce the chances of slipping when fishing on a boat. Avoid drugs and drinking alcohol when fishing on or near the water. Both substances increase one's risk of drowning accidentally.

Different Types of Fish

One of the fun things about fishing is the variety of fish species. One's decision on what type of fish to catch for will depend on personal preference, and what species are common in the area. If one plans to eat the fish, the preference will be focused on what fish is most pleasing to his or her palate. If a person is catching and releasing the fish the desired type of fish will typically have more to do with what fish are available and how easy or difficult they are to catch. To determine what fish are available, a person can check with their state's Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Fish and Game or the like. Popular types of fish include various species of bass, trout, catfish, and walleye.

Best Fishing Spots

Every state boasts locations that it deems the best places to fish. These spots are easily found online at state websites; however, these areas often are crowded with people who were looking for the same. Another way to discover an area's best fishing spots is to ask the people who work in area fishing stores and bait shops. These are the people who have the latest information about local fishing and will know which areas are currently experiencing the best fishing.

Techniques and Tips

For each type of fishing there are numerous techniques that are associated with it. These techniques, or methods, vary in how they are used and by who uses them. Some methods are better suited for commercial fishing while others are suitable for recreation. When it comes to spear fishing, additional techniques include the use of harpoons, bows and arrow, which is known as bow fishing, and gigging. These take a good deal of skill to master, and one should check state regulations before using these methods to catch fish. Netting is primarily used for commercial purposes. Common netting methods include gillnetting which is a curtain like net that reaches the floor of the sea, and purse seining, which involves a large net that looks similar to a purse when it is pulled closed to entrap large numbers of fish. Trawling is another technique in which a fishing boat pulls a large net along the floor of the sea to catch fish. Line fishing techniques may be commercial or recreational. Pole fishing, ice fishing, and fly fishing are all examples of recreational methods of fishing. Commercial methods include trolling, in which lines with hooks are towed behind fishing boats, and longlining. Longlining involves a line that is as much as 50 miles long with smaller lines attached.

When one first learns fishing, he or she will also find that people are willing to offer many tips about the sport. Tips can help improve one's ability to fish and can also help teach them about preparing the fish for cooking. One should take certain tips with a grain of salt, however. If some advice or tip sounds questionable, it is best to check with a trusted tutor before putting it into practice as it may be against state regulations or it could negatively affect one's catch.

Rules and Regulations

Wherever a person chooses to fish, the state will have a list of rules and regulations that governs the sport and how people participate in it. These regulations are designed to protect the fish and the surrounding environment. One common rule is the need for a valid license to fish. The minimum age and other restrictions associated with licensing may vary from state to state. Fishing limits are another rule that is included in the state regulations in efforts to prevent over-fishing. Regulations will also typically govern what fishing techniques can and cannot be used. The current year regulations can be found on the state's Fish and Game website in addition to information on how to report violations.


Fishing organizations are available to promote the sport. Often these organizations focus on a specific species of fish, a type of fishing, or a specific fishing technique. Organizations often act as advocates for the sport, sponsor events, and promote the conservation of fisheries. They will also typically offer a number of benefits to members who may or may not need to meet minimum requirements when applying for membership.

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