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Fishing Skills – Tips and Advice

Updated on March 12, 2011

There's a huge misconception about fishing that, somehow, it's a relaxing sport, and not a taxing one. But once you really get into fishing, you'll find that there are just as many physical skills to learn as you need for soccer, baseball or golf. 

You'll want to know how to cast an imitation fly 20 yards (18m) or more, sometimes into a wind, and so lightly that it hardly disturbs the water as it settles. Learning how to work a lure — an imitation fish of wood, plastic, or metal — so that it looks exactly like a living, struggling fish can be quite a challenge. You'll also learn to trot a float — that is, letting it drift with the current a hundred yards (90m) or more — yet remain in complete control. You'll experience the excitement of feeling the line for a biting fish, and interpreting all the signals that are transmitted. In short, fishing is an active, mobile sport, and the 21st-century angler is somebody who really goes with the flow, fishes actively, and is a long way from the stereotyped image of a sandwich guzzler rooted to his basket.

You will find, too, that the fishing tackle itself, the tools of your trade, can be extremely beautiful. There's a lot to appreciate in exquisite workmanship. Modern rods are breathtakingly feather-light. With luck, if you choose properly, you'll build a relationship with your rod, reel and floats, and a real intimacy will begin to flourish. The physical satisfaction of using the gear properly will bring you much pleasure. You might find artificial flies fascinating, or you might even begin to tie your own, and suddenly the long cold winter evenings become golden times when you feel that you can smell the warm summer evenings to come.

Water safety guidelines

  1. Never wade in water that is so cloudy that you can't see the bottom.
  2. Make sure that you never wade in too strong a current.
  3. Never wade so deeply that you begin to feel afraid.
  4. Always have a wading stick with you - this third 'leg' can be a real lifesaver.
  5. Wear Polaroid glasses when wading — you will gain a more secure foothold if you can see the bottom contours.
  6. Always wear a buoyancy aid when either wading or out in a boat.
  7. A whistle is good for attracting attention in case of an emergency.
  8. When setting out in a boat, always make sure that you have a pair of oars and rollocks, even if you think your engine is reliable.
  9. Always set off into the wind on a big water. If the engine should fail, it's easier to row home with the wind at your back.
  10. Always let somebody on shore know where you're going on a large water and approximately what time you expect to be back.
  11. Always check the weather forecast before setting out onto a big, exposed water. Dangerous conditions can whip up in a matter of minutes.


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  • MikeNV profile image

    MikeNV 6 years ago from Henderson, NV

    A whistle is good for attracting attention in case of an emergency.

    I carry one of these in case I'm drowning... :P

    If you are going to wade... get a float tube! And fishing is very relaxing... it's the people who think they have to actually catch something to enjoy the experience who are not relaxed. I catch and release so for me it matters not if anything bites!