How to Start Fishing When You Don't Have a Clue

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 25, 2021

That's it! You're done watching other people catch fish. Here are some tips for beginners to learn how to start fishing. 

You're done watching other people having fun while fishing, and now you’re ready to learn how to fish on your own. There's just one thing – you’re not sure exactly how to start fishing.

Maybe your family and friends don't have much experience with fishing either, or maybe you live in a big city and don't know where you can go to try fishing. Whatever the reasons might be, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Consider these words of advice when you want to learn how to start fishing, but don't have a clue.

Keep it Simple

If don’t know how to fish, keep it simple to start. Learn just one or two fishing tips or techniques at a time, such as how to tie a clinch knot or how to bait your hook, then build your knowledge from there. Learning how to fish is easier than you think.

Find a Bank Fishing Spot

Find a nearby waterway that has shoreline fishing access. Fishing isn’t that much different from going to the gym to exercise in the sense that you are more likely to stick with it if you have a convenient place to go on a regular basis. Look for lakes, rivers, ponds, fishing piers or public beaches that are easy to get to and close to where you live.

Buy a Fishing License

Once you have a local fishing spot in mind, a good next step is to buy a fishing license. You will need to know if you plan to go freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing since this will determine the type of fishing license you need to purchase.

Learn to Identify Fish Species

Learn how to identify the fish species in your local waters so that you can read, understand, and follow your state's fishing regulations. This will include species size limits, bag limits, and special fishing rules or regulations that apply to seasons or specific waterways.

Get a Rod and Reel Combo

You can buy a rod and reel combo that comes pre-spooled with line from your local tackle shop or outdoor retailer. Ask a fishing expert at the store what is recommended in terms of the best fishing equipment for beginners. They will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate gear and tackle to use for your fishing starter kit.

Use Live Bait

When learning how to start fishing, keep in mind that live or natural baits are recommended for beginners. Live or natural baits are usually your best bet for enticing the fish to bite. Once you get some experience, you can "graduate" to artificial lures.

Since you have answers to the question, “What do I need to go fishing for the first time?” The next step is to pick out a fishing spot, buy your fishing license on, read the regulations, and start fishing because now you actually do have a clue.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.