Sport Fishing 101: A Beginner’s Guide


Sport Fishing, also known as recreational fishing, is one of the most popular outdoor hobbies shared by millions of people all over the world. Sport fishing is about fishing for fun and pleasure only, which is different from commercial or self-sustenance fishing. If you’ve been hearing about your friends’ fishing trip stories for a while and are tempted to jump on the boat with them but have no idea what you would do once you make your way through the open waters, this guide is for you.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the basics you need to know so you can start sharing your own fishing stories.

Types of Sport Fishing

There are different types of sport fishing that you should be aware of, because each type may require different equipment. The types are as follows:

  • Fly Fishing: that’s the most casual type of fishing. People just enjoy nature, peace, and quiet while fishing. To catch a fish is just a bonus, and some even catch and release fish.
  • Competition Fishing: that’s where the word “Sport Fishing” originated from. There are various types of fishing competitions, ones are related to the type of water body, while the others compete in catching a specific kind of fish.
  • Freshwater Sport Fishing: anglers go to lakes, rivers, and such for sport. Anglers target specific kinds of fish like bass, catfish, and others.
  • Saltwater Sport Fishing: oceans and seas offer diverse fish species and different equipment needed for different species. Anglers enjoy saltwater fishing because each fishing trip is unique and different from the previous ones.

Fishing License

Before you jump on that boat, make sure you have a license for fishing in the state you’re in. Every state has its own laws and regulations regarding fishing, and most of them require a license for fishing. There are different kinds of licenses available varying from one-day licenses to annual licenses. While the daily one is usually inexpensive, the annual license would be better if you’re planning to go fishing frequently. Some licenses are limited for a certain body of water, whether it is a lake, river, or sea, and some licenses include all of those. You should ask if there’s a limit to the total number of fish you can catch in one day, especially for a certain species the state is trying to preserve. It’s easy to acquire those licenses as you can get one online or from a fishing equipment shop.

Fishing Equipment

For beginners, it may seem that all you need is a rod and a line, but that’s not true, as the equipment needed for fishing differ depending on the type of fish you want to catch. It’s preferable to do your research on which gear you need to bring for your next fishing trip. However, the basics are always the same, the first things to get are a rod and a reel. They usually come together which is perfect for beginners, more experienced anglers buy them separately to suit their exact needs. The same concept applies to lines, as there are different types of lines and each one is suitable for a certain use. The most commonly used line is Monofilament because it’s affordable, easy to tie, floats, and stretchable.

Lures and baits are the most important essentials you need to complete your fishing gear. Lures are small artificial objects, such as jigs, fly lures, and spinners, that attract fish to your lines. Baits, on the other hand, are living critters, like worms, leeches, and insects, that attract fish to your hook. It’s a bit challenging to know which lure or bait to use, especially for beginners, but the experienced anglers at Fishmasters explain that with a little research, you will know the exact gear you need for each fish type. Finally, to finish setting up your rod accessories, find a hook, a sinker, and a bobber suitable for the size of fish you intend to catch.

Some other accessories may come in handy during your fishing trip. A tackle box where you store all your lures, hooks, bobbers, weights, and other gear you might need. A pair of sunglasses is usually overlooked by beginner anglers, yet they help you see through reflective water surfaces and protect your eyes from sunlight.

Fishing Skills

We know you’re still a beginner and have no fishing experience yet. Nonetheless, you can go prepared by reading some tips for skills used by anglers. Knotting is a basic skill you need to have to successfully attach your hook to your line. There are different kinds of knots, and like everything else, it varies from beginner to expert. The basic knots you need to know are the clinch knot, the Palomar knot, the arbor knot, and the double surgeon’s knot, and you can watch tutorials on how to do them.

Casting your rod seems intuitive for everyone, however, it takes some practice to master it. For successful casting, you should hold the rod with your dominant hand so the reel is between your fingers while holding the line against the rod with your index finger. With the other hand open the bail of the reel, then hold the rod up and a bit behind you and cast it using your elbow and wrist. Release the line halfway through your casting motion and the line should reach the target intended. Finally, close the bail after you finish casting and begin reeling, with enough practice the casting should come naturally to you.

Sport fishing may sound intimidating at first, but once you try it, you’ll see for yourself why millions of people around the world enjoy this hobby. You don’t have to invest money in it right away; you can borrow the fishing equipment you need from a friend for your first fishing trip. Always stay safe and bring a first-aid kit with you. It’s best if you share your first fishing trip with friends to enjoy it even more and don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice if you need to. The sense of pride and accomplishment you experience when you reel in your first catch is unlike any other, and most probably this won’t be your last fishing trip. Have fun and remember if you’re not going to eat your catch, the ethical thing to do is to release it back in the water safely.

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