Fishing can be the ultimate catharsis, is highly accessible, and appeals to many demographics. Whether you’re a father showing his kids the ropes, a college student ready to blow off some steam for spring break, or a doomsday prepper with a strict pescatarian diet, the world of fishing awaits. Our job is to guide you through this process with relative ease.
Let’s talk about what every new fisherman should bring on a fishing trip to make the experience as rejuvenating, successful, and positive as possible.
1) Waterproof Boots: These are essential for comfort as well as optimal positioning. In order to access the best areas, you’ll have to stand on the banks where conditions get sloppy. Some fishers elect to use waders, which allow them to walk out through the water with one-piece protection from feet to chest.
2) Pants: Some lightweight, breathable fishing pants are in order. Steer clear of shorts, as you’ll often have to cross through brush and poison ivy to reach the location. Choose a pair of pants that will dry quickly and won’t bunch up when they get wet—a surefire recipe for chafing and a miserable day on the water. A pair with easily accessible pockets is a bonus or stashing small items you’ll need on the go.
3) Shirt: Snag a shirt that’ll help shield you from the sun, like this one with UPF 50+ sun protection. If you’re looking to blow a little more cash, opt for a lightweight button-down with a vented cape back and double-loop chest pockets.
4) Sun Defense: You’re going to be out in the sun all day—a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will help keep the sun off your face and help increase visibility. Polarized sunglasses are recommended for any fishing trip. The sun refracts off of the surface of the water, which can make it challenging to see what’s going on under the surface. Good fishing sunglasses don’t have to be expensive either—none of these styles will run you over $125.
5) Rod and Reel: There are two broad categories of bass, carp, and catfish fishing: tight line and slack line techniques. The action of your rod and reel will depend on your preferred technique and the type of bait. Slack line fishermen will want a faster action rod, and tight line fishermen will be happy with a moderate action rod. Spinning reels are a safe bet for beginners and have an easier learning curve than baitcasters.
6) Line: Monofilament line floats, which works well for topwater baits. It also stretches more than braid or fluorocarbon, which allows the fish get the bait in its mouth more effectively. Braided line is incredibly strong, ideal for people anticipating reeling in some big suckers. Fluorocarbon line sinks and is difficult for the fish to see. It won’t work for topwater bait, but will do well with reaction baits.
7) Bait: There are two popular options for reel-fishing beginners: live bait and lures.
Live Bait: There are a number of different live bait options for different fish. Just like all humans don’t love steak, all fish don’t love worms. In fact, some people use cornmeal for bottom-dwelling fish like carp. Stick with either minnows or worms on these trips. You’ll also need some cheap hooks and a bobber. Bobbers keep the bait afloat towards the surface of the water so it doesn’t hit the muddy ground. It also signals action, making it perfect for reclining in a beach chair and cracking a cold beer.
Lures: The type of lure that will garner the most success depends on your region and season. A lure is an artificially made piece of bait that bears a distinct resemblance (and can sometimes smell) like the tiny aquatic critters that fish love to consume. Many angling stores sell variety packs, so you can test different types without committing to full sets of a certain style.
Written by Kyle Brown for RootsRated in partnership with Filthy Anglers.
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