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

That's it! You're done watching other people catch fish. You’re ready to learn how to do it all on your own. There's just one thing -- you're not sure how to start fishing because you have no clue. 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 it out. No worries, it's easy to learn how to fish in a short amount of time.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad you've decided to stop making excuses and start taking matters into your own hands. You may want to consider these words of advice when you want to learn how to start fishing, but don't have a clue.

  1. Keep it simple. If you're not sure how to start fishing, the most important thing to remember is to start simple. Prevent yourself from becoming consumed with the details. Fishing is a life-long learning process, so take baby steps. Commit to learning one or two things, such as learning to tie a clinch knot or how to bait your hook, and then build your knowledge from there.
  2. Pick out a shore fishing spot close to home. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Know how to identify the fish species in your state. 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.
  5. Get a basic rod and reel combo. You can get a pre-rigged rod and reel combo from your local tackle shop or outdoor retailer. Most tackle shops or retailers will know which fish species can be found in your local area, and will be happy to help you select the best rod and reel combo to start out with. They can also advise you on the best fishing hooks and leader line to use.
  6. Use live bait. If you want to know how to start fishing, but don't have a clue, know 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.

Now that you have a few words of advice about how to start fishing, don't wait any longer! Your first fish is out there just waiting to be caught. Pick out a fishing spot, buy your fishing license online, read the regulations, and start fishing because now you DO have a clue.

Photo Credit: Tim Donovan/FWC

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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.