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Getting Started Fishing - Instruction and Information for Beginners

Updated on March 12, 2011

If you're in a mountainous area with fast-flowing streams, then you'll probably be destined to fish for trout. On the other hand, if your home is in a lowland, urban environment, it's very probable that you'll do more bait fishing. Obviously, you've got to make a start somewhere and the most obvious places are close to home. As your interest in fishing grows, you'll probably do more travelling, spread your wings and begin to appreciate all the styles of fishing that are available to you.

I personally think it's a great shame when anglers become blinkered into one discipline. For example, it's very common for an angler simply to pursue trout all his or her life and totally ignore the interest in pike, say, or carp. Equally, the carp specialist often overlooks the delight of fishing a roach river with a stick float. Only by fishing for as many species as you possibly can, in as many water types, and using as many different methods will you become a truly rounded angler.

First, you've got to serve your apprenticeship. Where do you begin?

You've got to check that your chosen water is actually in season. Traditionally, waters worldwide have had closed seasons to allow fish to spawn in peace. Different types of fish spawn at different times, and the closed seasons have been designated to protect them all. So, before you begin to fish, you need to do your research. Remember, though, wherever you live, there's likely to be some kind of fish in season that you can target, whatever the month.

Whatever part of the country you choose to fish, it is likely that you will need at least one, if not two, license’s. As a general rule, you will have to buy a national or state rod license and, very frequently, you will then require permission from the owner of any specific water. It sounds confusing, but don't worry, any tackle shop will give advice.

It really pays, though, to think about joining a local angling club. You won't have any difficulty locating these — the world is honeycombed with them. The club will have a good sprinkling of waters within easy radius of your home and, above all, it will probably have outings and evenings that will help you to develop confidence and knowledge.

As you progress, you might want to join a syndicate; groups of anglers come together to pay large amounts of money to a landowner in return for access to desirable waters. However, these can be costly, so it's generally best to wait until you've got more experience.

Rules and Regulations

Wherever you begin your fishing, always check the local rules and regulations. Every different water and each different club imposes its own rules. Some, for example, will not allow live baiting, night fishing, or whatever takes the committee's fancy! Don't worry too much. This isn't bureaucracy gone mad, it's simply a way of protecting the water, the fish themselves and the enjoyment of those that fish there. 

Now for equipment. It's important to build up a relationship with a tackle dealer. If you live in a large urban area, there will probably be quite a choice. Tackle shops can seem forbidding places at first — there will be gear in every corner, and you probably won't have a clue what any of it is for. There'll be muttered conversations at the counter, which sound like nothing but gobbledegook. But don't worry, I know exactly what it's like, and there's nobody alive who is expert at everything. My advice is to visit all the tackle shops and see where you get the friendliest welcome. Do you think the tackle dealer is going to advise you impartially, or will he try to get you to buy an expensive rod that has been on his hands for quite a while? The wise tackle dealer will know that a beginner like yourself could easily become a valued customer in years to come and, if he's got any sense, he'll do his very best to make sure that you start off on the right footing. 

Mail order is, however, a quickly growing branch of the tackle trade. Some mail order companies aren't particularly fantastic - their stocks are limited and their service is slow. However, the biggest and best mail order operations are very slick indeed. It's a really good idea to get hold of their catalogues at the very least, as this gives you a really good overview of what tackle is available and also what it's for. Before you put in an order, speak to someone about the tackle that you are considering buying and see if their advice is detailed and considerate.

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