Fishing in the country is more an economic affluence than leisure on a wide scale. The fishing rods are steadily catching up with anglers today. Government is making room for this experience and hosts competitions as well. Fishing is fun, whether done solo or with friends. A nice sunny weather, your basic fishing kit, and you have some great moments, and fish too! If you are on the lookout for the fishing basics, it can be confusing initially, but keep the following few pointers in mind and you will be good to go.
Also recommended: Fishing 101: Tips for New Anglers
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FIRST THINGS FIRST
To begin with, split your adventure into choosing the right spot and using the most basic gear. Loading yourself up with too many details is going to consume you. Small steps towards the skill is your best bait. Many try a hand while on vacation but it is best to try closest to your home. Learn about your locality. Ask your neighbours, nudge your friend! Get to know about the river bodies nearest to you. If you manage to get access to a fishing shore, you are all set! Watery areas will be mushy and will smell. Wear waterproof boots while you go fishing. Hiking and hunter boots work well. For shore fishing, opt for rubber boots.
When fishing in the summer time, use a sunscreen. Re-apply it every couple of hours. Polarised fishing sunglasses will save your eyes and help you locate fish better, also include a hat for your head. Drink water and other fluids while you are waiting for your catch to keep yourself hydrated. Safety equipment along with your gear is mandatory. Keep a first-aid kit, hook remover kit, a flashlight in case you decide to go in the night, and a lighter. When you are done choosing your rod and reel, you should arrange a fishing tackle box, a net, needle-nose pliers and an ice chest can come in handy as well. A few additional items can be a map, sliders, leaders, bobbers, a stringer, and a scissor. Choose gear that is pocket-friendly.
FISHING BASICS – KNOW YOUR KNOTS
Take a round to the local retailer and get a rod and a reel. You can also opt for a pre-rigged rod. Your local retailer can best advise you on the kind of fishes available and hooks required.
The core of your outfit will be the reel and rod. Your best bets for a simple kit will probably be:
- a bait-casting outfit
- a spin-casting set or
- an open-faced spinning reel and matching rod.
As a beginner, choosing your fly rod can be a tad tricky. The fly rods can vary in length, from around 6′ to 15′. It is important to match your rod and line to the size of species you are fishing for. The AFTM system (Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers) rates the rods from 1 – 16, 1 for the smallest fish in the small streams with the smallest flies, and 16 being giant saltwater species such as Tuna and Sharks. While choosing the reel, keep in mind that it should balance with your rod. It should have a drag system to cope with the fish you are aiming.
A simple click check reel should suffice for small species. Print out a knot article before you go. Practice till you get the hang of it. The Improved clinch knot and Palomar Knot are a must, to begin with. Check tutorials and videos on how to go about your knots.
FISHING BASICS – RODS AND REELS
Now, how do you pick a combo which works smoothly for you? There are basically five combinations which will work for you. Deciding is up to you, as per your preferences.
- THE SPINCASTING- Recommended highly for beginners and children. Casting is easy as it is, to an extent, automated. Spiniest reel is also known as the close-faced reel.
- THE SPINNING- This “open-face reel” mounts under the rod. Fishing line spools off quickly allowing longer casts. This reel is able to cast lighter baits and lures.
- THE BAITCASTING- This tackle is suitable for all types of fish. You’ll need to practice with this model, however, as the spool turns when you cast and can entangle the line if not properly adjusted.
- TROLLING- Commonly used method of fishing. The lines with hook rigged with lures are dragged behind a boat.
- FLY CASTING- An ancient documented form of fishing. The angling method is to cast a fly.
FISHING BASICS – PLAN THE VENUE
Angling solo is a laid-back activity. Feeling the soft breeze, warming up in the sun and trying a hand at this skill – perfect! If you have a choice of freshwater angling or saltwater angling , choose the former. If you happen to be abroad, you would need to buy a angling license as per the type of fishing you decide on. Know how your neighbouring areas and proceed. It’s important find about your local fishing regulations and rules for the type of fishing that you choose.
In India, Angling is now promoted and the government takes necessary actions to back it. If you plan a trip in India, these places could be your best pick:
- The Ramganga river in Corbett National Park- Plan for October and mid-June. The Kosi river in the park has a fine selection of Mahseer fish. Mahseer fishes are the pride of River Kaveri.
- Enthusiasts look out for the Golden Mahseer in The Pabbar river.
- The International Angling Competition in Pancheshwar is a must to attend. Many resorts arrange it as a couple’s package too.
Every location has its set of rules and regulations, especially, officially declared fishing areas. Being thorough with how it works and what permission is required will save you time and embarrassment. The rule books are updated every year. Keep track.
ETHICS TO FISH FOR
Know what you are doing. Your adventure shouldn’t be harming you or the environment. Respect other Anglers’ rights. Do not disturb others while you fish. When leaving, clean the area so others can enjoy it too.
Remember fishes are important in aquatic life and the ecosystem. If you plan on eating the fish, learn to clean the fish and cook. You can also carry a small grill or some logs at the back of your car. If you are not eating, don’t leave the fish to die. Take your snaps with your catch, unhook the fish carefully and release it back into the water. Fish responsibly.
READ AND LEARN
Read and practice a lot! Check blogs, read books, watch tutorials and prepare to begin fishing. Suggested reads- FISHING BASICS: THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE By Gene Kugack, FISHING FOR DUMMIES by Greg Schwipps and P. Kaminsky, “ THE MORROW GUIDE TO KNOTS: FOR SAILING, FISHING, CAMPING, CLIMBING ” by Mario Bigon, et al.
You can always borrow your friend’s gear to see if it suits you. Check before you invest.