10 Important Things Every Fishing Beginner Should Know Before Hitting the Water
Calling all aspiring anglers - there are more than a few things you need to clue yourself up on before you cast your net in search of the catch of the day. From bait, to the equipment you use, location and even the time of day, making sure you're maximising your chances of getting a good haul the first time you go fishing is a fine art. For ten top tips that'll have you swimming in cod, carp and crayfish, just scroll down.
1. Check the Weather
An overcast sky is almost always the best condition for catching fish, so before you even think about casting your first line make sure you catch the six o'clock news to find out what the skies have in store for the day you'll be hitting the water. Some species of fish, such as the Flathead Catfish, are far more likely to be caught at night, so you'll want to take the time of day and the season into account as well.
2. Come Well Equipped
After making a long trip for a fishing expedition, the last thing you want to do is realise you don't have the right, or enough, equipment on you. You'll want to carry a spare line, lures, bobbers, sinkers and even needle nose pliers to get your hook out of fish. There's even more that you can carry on you, but it all depends on the length of your trip and the type of fish you're attempting to catch.
3. Dress Appropriately
This one is a given, but obviously as you'll be near (or even in) water for the duration of your fishing experience you'll want to dress accordingly. Is it going to be cold and windy? Then wear a waterproof coat. Is it going to be hot and humid? Wear a sun hat and pack plenty of sun cream and fluids. Not forgetting, of course, that no matter the conditions you'll want to wear waterproof footwear in the event that you end up in the aqua.
4. Be Prepared to Change Locations
Not catching anything? No worries, move around a little bit. One area of a lake, river or ocean may contain less marine life than another area just a short distance away, but you'll never know if you're stubborn and refuse to move from the spot where you originally laid anchor. Of course you don't want to up and move sticks too often during the course of a day, but if after a couple of hours nothing has taken the bait, chances are you're wasting your time in that particular spot.
5. Find Your Perfect Depth
Maybe you're a better fisherman in shallower water. Or maybe you seem to have more success in the deep. Experiment with different depths and find your niche. And there's no need to draw the line there when it comes to experimenting - give different types of rod, bait and weights a try until you find out what works best for you. It pays to mix things up until you stumble on that perfect formula.
6. Get Your Grip Down
Once you're all set up and ready to rock and roll, you'll need to make sure you're holding your rod the right way. Pinch your line with your index finger just above the reel before you cast the rod, then once you've let it fly relive the pressure and watch the line smoothly release into the water, ready to be nibbled on by all those curious fish.
7. Know Your Bait
Depending on what type of fish you're trying to catch, the bait can be crucial. You could opt for an artificial lure - they last longer and don't go off like live bait - but for effectiveness you can't beat live bait. Earthworms are probably the most common bait on the angling circuit, Crayfish serve you well when the weather heats up in spring and summer, while Grasshoppers and Crickets, among other small insects, can also serve a purpose depending on the circumstances.
8. Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Becoming a good fisherman is a real trial-and-error process, so pay attention to anything you pick up while casting a line. While there are certain do's and don'ts in the fishing world, not everything is set in stone and you can pick up plenty of tips and tricks, local knowledge and handy reference points just by being observant. You'll also want to take heed of anything more experienced angler's have to say when you encounter them, as their knowledge could prove invaluable and prevent many a wasted hour waiting for a catch that may never come.
9. Make Sure You're Allowed to be Fishing!
Before you do anything else, make sure you've checked that you don't require a permit for the area in which you're attempting to fish, or if you do then make sure you acquire said permit. Also, many lakes are on private land and you may not be allowed to fish there at all, so do your homework before you find yourself in hot water for trespassing.
10. Safety First
You don't want to get caught out when attempting to fish in a remote location, such as in the middle of the ocean or in an extremely rural location miles from civilisation. As a result, ensure that you carry a first aid kit with you at all times in case any accidents occur. You'll also want to bring a flashlight for when the sun sets, plus a lighter is also recommended should you need to start a fire for warmth or light at any point. A hook remover kit is another item that you don't want to be caught without should things go pear shaped.