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How to Start Fishing

I learned to fish as most of us did, with a bobber, a coffee can full of worms, a snelled hook, and a split shot sinker. A farm pond loaded with panfish put a bend in my rod and provided enough of a spark that created a life-long fishing addiction. There are other ways to start fishing, particularly if you don't have access to a farm pond loaded with panfish. Here are some ideas to consider that will turn an outing into a hobby...if not much more.

Action: For beginners, fishing really is short-handle for catching. Look at your home waters and pick the easiest-to-catch species. Out here on Cape Cod, a pod of bluefish feeding aggressively means non-stop action. Some are hooked and landed while others just whack a plug. Maybe it is baby tarpon in Florida or spring trout feeding on baitfish in your area, but action is the key.

Conditions: First timers getting sea sick on a pitching boat or bushwhacking through brush to get to a spot aren't likely to want to go again. Heavy winds, rain, or intense sun and heat turn off anglers who don't yet appreciate our addiction. So when taking someone fishing, pick a time and a place that is comfortable for them, and in a short while they'll kick you out of bed when you sleep through your alarm. Too much intensity in the beginning and they'll find another sport.

Full Circle: A big old fish fry after a successful day on the water makes everyone happy. It's important to balance conservation, true, but in the beginning, a meal of the fish you caught is important for new anglers. That meal lets them know one important reason why we go fishing.

Easy Access: Many new anglers learn to fish while on vacation, and that's cool. But they wind up thinking that the best fishing is where they were and not what's around the corner. Start them fishing near home, particularly because it's a place to which you can regularly return. That way you'll create a fisherman for life.

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. That saying is worth its weight in gold.

Click for more information and fishing tips on each step to learning how to fish!


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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.