How To Fish: A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

Learning to fish is a straightforward process. Begin by locating a suitable fishing spot and gathering all the necessary equipment. Ensure you tie the appropriate knots to secure your gear. Lastly, employ the correct fishing techniques for a successful experience.

Having personally engaged in fishing since the age of 9, and backed by extensive research spanning 8 hours, I have compiled this comprehensive guide to assist anyone in getting started with fishing.

How to fish for beginners

Here’s everything you need to know before going fishing:

  • Finding A Good Fishing Spot
  • The First Thing You’ll Need
  • Fishing Gear
  • Tying Knots
  • Fishing Technique

Finding A Good Fishing Spot

Step by step Guide for fishing

Lakes serve as an excellent starting point for fishing enthusiasts. I remember my very first fishing trip took place at a lake as well. These water bodies are abundant with various gamefish species such as bass, trout, and panfish. Additionally, lakes offer numerous favorable fishing locations, including banks and docks. Moreover, lakes tend to host a larger population of fish that are actively feeding, making them more inclined to take the bait, thereby increasing your chances of a successful catch.

Rivers also offer an excellent starting point for aspiring anglers. When fishing in rivers, the primary targets are often trout or salmon. If you’re specifically interested in catching salmon, then starting with rivers rather than lakes would be a wise choice.

Undoubtedly, the most reliable source of information regarding good fishing spots is the local fishermen. No matter how much theoretical knowledge you gather about fishing, nothing compares to real-world experience. There will be times when even the best information might not hold true, and fish might not behave as expected or be found where they usually are. Local fishermen possess invaluable insights into the specific spots to fish and understand the behavioral patterns of different fish species since they have experienced it firsthand.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to find or interact with local anglers, and that’s where crowdsourced fishing apps like come in handy. These apps can assist you in discovering potential fishing spots and provide useful tips and insights shared by fellow anglers, making the fishing experience more enjoyable and successful.

The First Thing You’ll Need

Before embarking on your fishing adventure, there’s one essential requirement to address even before considering gear – obtaining a fishing license.

Fishing licenses grant you legal permission to fish in specific areas. While some locations might not necessitate a fishing license, in most cases, having one is crucial to avoid any legal issues with the local wildlife department or authorities. If you’re uncertain about whether you need a fishing license, it’s best to inquire at your local fishing store while purchasing your gear.

The good news is that fishing licenses are generally affordable and won’t put a strain on your budget. For short-term fishing trips, a one-day license typically costs less than $20. However, if you plan to fish regularly, it’s more cost-effective to invest in an annual license, which typically ranges from $30 to $150. As you might have noticed, the annual licenses offer significantly more value for the price, making them a better option for frequent anglers.

Fishing Gear

Fishing Gear

Now, let’s dive into the exciting world of fishing gear!

When I first started fishing, I naively believed it would be as simple as attaching a worm to a fishing rod and catching fish instantly. However, I soon realized that, like a skilled samurai requires a great sword, fishing demands the right gear for success.

To get started with fishing, you’ll need eight essential pieces of gear:

  1. Rod and reel
  2. Fishing line
  3. Tackle (hooks, sinkers, etc.)
  4. Bait or fishing lures
  5. Swivel (to prevent line twisting)
  6. Needle-nose pliers (for handling hooks)
  7. Nail clipper (to cut fishing line)
  8. Tackle box or bag (to organize and carry your gear)

The wide variety of options for each piece of gear can be overwhelming for beginners. Selecting the appropriate gear is crucial for your fishing success and to avoid wasting money.

For instance, choosing the right fishing line, whether it’s monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon, can significantly impact your fishing experience. Different gear is required for freshwater and saltwater fishing, and knowing when to use live bait versus artificial bait to attract fish is equally important.

Considering the significance of this aspect, I have developed a comprehensive guide to assist you. Before proceeding further, I recommend giving it a thorough read to make informed gear choices that will set you up for a rewarding fishing journey.

Tying Knots

Absolutely! Having a good understanding of tying knots is crucial for any beginner in fishing. It might seem tedious or trivial at first, and some beginners may overlook its importance, but neglecting this skill can lead to frustrating consequences, such as lines snapping during the excitement of fighting with a fish.

Avoid making this common mistake and invest the time to learn at least one or two reliable knots. Properly tying knots ensures the strength and stability of your fishing setup, safeguarding you from the disappointment of losing your prized first catch due to a poorly tied knot. Embrace this essential skill, and it will pay off handsomely in the long run, contributing to a more enjoyable and successful fishing experience.

Fishing Technique

Finally, the hardest part is always the technique. Mainly, there are 3 parts to any fishing technique – casting, setting the hook, and finally reeling in your catch.


If you have reviewed our guide on basic fishing gear, you should be using a spinning reel and spinning rod initially to catch fish. As you progress and target larger fish, you can consider transitioning to baitcasting gear, which is better suited for handling bigger catches. However, for now, spinning gear is ideal for catching smaller fish.

Casting with a spinning reel is relatively straightforward:

  1. Leave approximately 15 cm (6 inches) of fishing line protruding from the tip of your fishing rod.
  2. All spinning reels have a bail arm; flip it open.
  3. Swing your fishing rod overhead behind you, and then cast the line out above your head with a powerful forward motion, aiming for maximum distance.

Once you have successfully cast your line, begin reeling it in until you notice a slight bend in the rod tip. This indicates that your line is taut, allowing you to feel even the gentlest tug when a fish takes the bait. This setup will facilitate a more effective and enjoyable fishing experience.

Setting The Hook

Setting the hook is the crucial action of getting the hook securely into the fish’s mouth after it bites. If the hook is not set properly, it may not penetrate deeply, making it easier for the fish to escape.

When you notice your bobber bobbing up and down, avoid setting the hook immediately. Wait until the bobber is fully submerged in the water, indicating that the fish has taken the bait properly. Then, with a swift and firm motion, pull the tip of your fishing rod towards you, causing the rod to point upwards towards the sky in a vertical position.

This quick and assertive movement ensures that the hook is firmly embedded in the fish’s mouth, increasing the likelihood of a successful hook set. Mastering the technique of setting the hook will significantly improve your fishing success and prevent fish from breaking free, leading to a more rewarding fishing experience.

Reeling In The Fish

Indeed, reeling in the fish is a skill that requires finesse and practice. It’s not as simple as continuously spinning your reel. Here’s the proper technique for reeling in your catch:

  1. After setting the hook, keep your fishing rod in a vertical position. This helps maintain the tension on the line and keeps the hook secure in the fish’s mouth.
  2. Begin reeling in the fish steadily until you feel it start to struggle. Once you sense the fish pulling against the line, pause and hold it at that position until you feel the tension decreasing.
  3. When the tension decreases, you can resume reeling in your line until you feel the fish struggling again. Repeat this process of reeling and pausing as needed.
  4. Depending on the type of fish you’ve hooked, the time it takes to tire the fish out will vary. Some fish may require more time and effort to exhaust them.
  5. As the fish tires out, you will notice a significant decrease in tension on the line. At this point, you can freely reel in the line without much resistance.
  6. There will be instances where you’ve successfully reeled in the fish before it completely tires out. This is common with smaller or less resilient species.

Reeling in a fish effectively takes practice, and you may not get it right on your first attempt. But with dedication and practice, you can improve your technique and become more adept at reeling in your catches. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged and keep honing your skills for a more successful and enjoyable fishing experience.

Extra Fishing Tips

Now that you’re all set to get started, explore our top 10 fishing tips to become an even better angler and catch more fish.

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