Getting Started Fishing is Easier Than You Think

I learn something from everyone, and these days I have been learning a lot from my kids.  School started recently and every day they are faced with learning something new.  Most of the time they tackle it head on, and I am impressed with their focus and willingness to learn.  And since fishing season is in full swing I thought about learning to fish along those lines, too.

There is a reason that some 27.5 million folks fish in freshwater and 8.9 million people fish in saltwater.  If fishing were so complicated then why would 33.1 million people pull out rods, reels, waders and gear to catch a fish?  The answer is simple: fishing is not difficult.  Sometimes the fear of the unknown keeps us from jumping in with both feet, and if you’ve never fished before then here are a few quick points to remember to get started.  (They might also be helpful if it’s been a while since you wet a line.)  After that you can spend the rest of your life perfecting your craft.  That’s the fun part.

The basic gear you really need: To get started, a simple spinning rod/reel outfit with a bobber, a few hooks, a sinker and some worms will bend your rod on panfish in a farm pond. Check out this Get Started Fishing video for a quick overview.  In time you’ll assemble a basement full of different types of tackle for a whole lot of different types of fish and conditions, but for now, basics are best. And fishing gear is always a welcome birthday present…

Don’t be overwhelmed by Knots: There are lots of different knots for individual fishing conditions, but three will get you started.  The Arbor Knot will help you attach line to your reel.  The Clinch Knot will attach a hook to your line.  If you’re having a tough time with that knot then try the Uni Knot.  Watching knots on a video is easier than studying a diagram, so watch these fishing how-to videos and tie away.

A Rig is how to tie everything on your line: A Basic Bobber Rig, a Sliding Sinker Rig, and a Three-way Rig are easy ways to get your bait or lures to where the fish are. Bobbers can be set up to suspend your bait at the right depth and they bounce around when a fish takes the bait. Sinkers will get your bait or lure down in deeper water.  A Three-way Rig is another way to get your bait and weight connected together.  Click the links to access the videos.

Mastering these basics is a great first step, and you’ll use them throughout your years of fishing. Get started today.  The fun is yet to come.

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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 or at