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Learning to Fish

What a beginner needs to know


Okay, so you decided you want to learn to fish. And you need to know who, what, where, when, and why on just about every aspect of fishing. There are a number of ways to learn, not the easiest of which is trial and error, although that method has a more lasting effect on your knowledge base.

If you are looking at saltwater fishing, there are some ways to ease your way into the sport, and painlessly learn the ropes. If I were advising someone who was just beginning, here is where I would point him or her:

We are assuming that you have opted out of paying for one-on-one lessons and that you have not hooked up with a friend willing to give of his time to teach you one-on-one. Given these criteria, we will proceed.

Step One

Go out and buy a package of seasick medicine. Nothing can ruin your day more than seasickness. You would be amazed at how easy a novice on the water can become ill. My recommendation is Bonine. It has worked in every case for the people I take fishing. If it's going to be a particularly rough day with heavy seas offshore, I have been know to take some myself.

Step Two

I try and teach some aspect of fishing in every article I write. Some are more advanced than others, but you can learn a lot from visiting the articles listed below. Each has been written to help you in some specific way. After reading these you can get a good feel for where you are and where you need to improve:

Step Three

Spend the money to go on a party/head boat. These are boats that carry from twenty to as many as seventy anglers. They provide everything - bait, rod and reel, hooks, sinkers. They even help you fish and take the fish off your line for you. They will spot you if you are new and one of the mates will stay close to you to help. They will do this partly out of customer service, but also wanting to keep an eye on their rod and reel that they fear may accidentally go overboard. Remember the seasick medicine. This is where you will use it. Take a pill before you go to bed the night before and one when you wake up. Then take one as you board the boat. Trust me, you will thank me for this reminder. Head boats run from $30 to $60 a day, and you get to keep your fish! Compared to the cost of a boat, fishing equipment, gas, and bait, it is a bargain for the beginner. You walk on empty handed and walk off with fish. What a concept!

Step Four

Assuming you have acquired the ability to operate a rod and reel from step three, you need to find a fishing pier. Most coastal cities have at least one public or pay-to-fish pier that goes out into the ocean. Some even have a pier that goes into a bay or river. These piers will often rent tackle. They do sell bait and terminal tackle (that's the hooks and sinkers and the like) and will help you rig the rod and reel if you did not learn either from step two or three above. From that point you may feel like you are on your own. But fear not; help abounds. If you ask nicely and appear to be struggling on the pier, there are any number of pier anglers that will jump in to help you and give you advice. They are a special breed of angler and some of the friendliest folks around. That's a major reason for sending you to a pier in this step.

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