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10 steps to start fishing

Turn off the video games. Put up the balls, bats and other stuff. It’s time for a different kind of fun — fishing. Follow these simple steps!

step-11.jpgSTEP 1: For gear, KEEP IT SIMPLE. All you need is a cane, fiberglass or graphite pole, available at a bait shop or discount store for about 10 bucks.

Also buy a small spool of monofilament fishing line (6- or 8-pound test for fresh water, 10- or 12-pound test for salt water), a couple of plastic bobbers, some split shot sinkers (BB size) and some hooks (size 2 for small bait, up to size 3/0 for bigger bait). A small tackle box with divided trays and a carrying handle keeps it all organized.

STEP 2: Bait. You can buy minnows, night crawlers, redworms and crickets at a bait shop. But it’s more fun to CATCH YOUR OWN. Get minnows out of a nearby creek by using a dip net. Look under stream rocks for crayfish. Find redworms and crickets under logs and leaf litter.

Other baits work, too. Saltwater fish love shrimp, dead or alive. Trout will bite kernel corn and cheese. Catfish will eat pieces of Ivory soap! Carry your bait in a small plastic bucket.

STEP 3: Cut off a length of line about a foot longer than the length of your pole. Wrap an end around the tip of your pole and TIE IT TIGHTLY.

step-4.jpgSTEP 4: Match a hook to your bait. (Size 3/0 for long worms, say, 1/0 for small shrimp.) Tie the hook to the opposite end of the line using a knot that won’t slip, such as THE PALOMAR KNOT shown here. (Wet all knots before pulling tight.) Bad knots lose good fish.

STEP 5: You’re ready for the fishing hole. If you live near the coast, you can catch all kinds of saltwater fish around piers and large rocks close to shore. If you live inland, A POND IS YOUR BEST BET – most ponds are loaded with bluegills and bass.

step-72.jpgSTEP 6: Try bobber-fishing. After baiting your hook, attach the bobber above your line (two feet for starters, longer if the bait needs to go deeper). Now simply extend the pole out over the water and lower it UNTIL THE BOBBER FLOATS ON THE WATER. Keep the pole horizontal to the water and hold it steady.

STEP 7: Wait for the fish to bite. FISHING TAKES PATIENCE! It’s common for fish to take several minutes to find your baited hook. Watch your bobber. If it jumps or shakes, a fish is nibbling your bait!

STEP 8: When the bobber goes completely under the surface, SET THE HOOK by raising the pole quickly. Then point your pole straight up in the air, so the fish swings to you.

step-9.jpgSTEP 9: Handle with care! Most fish you’ll catch from shore don’t have sharp teeth, but many have spiny fins. Grasp the fish GENTLY BUT FIRMLY behind the head as shown. Use needle-nose pliers to remove the hook.

STEP 10: Take a photo of your catch. Then gently put the fish BACK IN THE WATER so it can swim away, grow bigger, make babies — and be caught another day.

63 Comments on 10 steps to start fishing

  1. captain banana // July 11, 2019 at 6:54 pm // Reply

    OMG! sooo useful!!!! (i’m not being sarcastic by the way)

  2. buckkiller // April 2, 2019 at 2:57 pm // Reply

    im having a fishing project so thanks

  3. I have a fishing project so thanks!!! šŸ™‚

  4. I have a fishing project so thanks!!! šŸ™‚

  5. scienceguy // April 15, 2018 at 9:55 am // Reply

    this is my first time fishing, it’s going to be sooooo fun.

  6. Thanks for the tips! Iā€™m on my way to a new hobby! Be safe

  7. this is an excellent beginner’s guide to fishing and discusses many techniques that I use a lot of times myself. Thank You Boys Life!

  8. acctualy,the fish die after giving babys so it would not be catched another day

  9. Thank you

  10. bigdike27 // June 1, 2017 at 8:20 am // Reply

    i have to do fishing for a project

  11. chrystion // May 31, 2017 at 8:19 am // Reply

    i like this

  12. coool… thx for the advice!!!

  13. Those are great tips for a begginer. You also need to know what species you are wanting to fish for or what species are in your local waters. That will determine the bait you use. Night crawlers are a well rounded bait that can catch many types of fish. They can be fished from a bobber or on the bottom.

  14. awesome fisherman // August 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm // Reply

    CAn you catch trout with a cane pole?

    • wanna know bout' fishing // August 19, 2016 at 10:33 am // Reply

      does anyone know how to kill a fish. it just seems so hard and can the fish feel it’s about to be and is being killed? could anyone please help me. thanks!

  15. Nice expiation

  16. thank you


  18. President Obama // February 24, 2014 at 11:47 am // Reply

    I might try these tips for my first fishing trip

  19. Can you get all of the kit from one place??

  20. shotgun scout // July 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm // Reply

    with these tips i caugt a nine in. rainbow trout! thanks boyslife!

  21. I’m supposed to catch and cook some fish for a school project and I think I’ll use these tips! Thank you Boys Life!

  22. Took my son catfishing today, he landed an eight pounder. (Turtle) he had a great time.

  23. I can’t wait to try those tips out

  24. Good advice.

  25. this would be fun for my pond in my backyard

  26. I used these strategies and caught a 8 in. Brown Trout

  27. i cot a 17 16 15 and 4 inch trouts win i last wint camping with my family

  28. i cot a 17 16 15 and 4 inch trout with my parents and grandparents the last time i wint camping!!!!!

  29. what if i wanna keep it an eat it???

  30. master fisher // June 16, 2010 at 9:52 am // Reply

    i think this is great for beginers

  31. i already know how to use a rod and reel,
    but i think this is great advice for beginner fisherman.

  32. i knew that

  33. supertoria12 // August 22, 2008 at 3:58 pm // Reply

    Great! I’m going fishing in two days, and this info will come in handy!

  34. i won a pole at a boy scot raffle so im set

  35. babycakes08 // May 6, 2008 at 8:08 am // Reply

    i think if you are just starting out on fishing then i think this is a great way to find out how to go fishin.

  36. I love fishing but i wish boyslife would give some hunting tips or trapping tips


  38. I wish that was me!!

  39. I love catfishing and boylife has given me some great fishing tips

  40. coolllll

  41. my point exatly

  42. I love your tips and i love fishing for blue gill.

  43. if you whant to learn to fish just aske your dad or grandparents

  44. I think Boys Life is a grate way to give scouts grater uderstanding of scoting. So is this.

  45. jjngbkjkdfgsdfkgb // July 26, 2007 at 7:39 pm // Reply


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