Getting Started in Fishing
Are you interested in getting involved in fishing but not sure where to start? The basic things that you need to know relate to the skills that you need to master, and the equipment that you'll need to have. Read on for more information on how to get started in fishing.
CastingCasting your fishing rod is one the fundamental skills that you'll need to learn. Like most other things, it's a case of perfecting your technique through practice, but there are a few basic steps to master:
- Firstly, reel in the slack line so that the tip of the rod is between three and six inches from the hook.
- Secondly, make sure that the tip of the rod is facing the direction of the intended target.
- Thirdly, pull the rod straight back (quickly) behind you so that it reaches the one o'clock position. Start the rod quickly straight after this. Release the line when the rod is in the ten o'clock position.
- Lastly, make sure that the tip of the rod 'follows through' (points in the direction of the intended target until it connects with it). If you find that your rod hasn't reached the right position, you have probably not released the rod quickly enough (it must be an immediate action).
Tying KnotsTying knots in fishing line is a basic skill, but you need to get it right. Many people don't wet the line before they pull it tight. This creates friction, which weakens the line and makes it more likely to break or snap. Three or four different types of knots will usually be the maximum that you'll need to know. These will depend on the type of fishing that you do.
There are a few knots that are worth learning:
- Clinch knot: Pass the line through the eye hook, and double back. Make five turns around the line. Pass the line through the first loop (nearest the eye hook), and then pass it through the large loop. This should form a knot when pulled tighter.
- Jansik Special knot: Fifteen centimetres of line should be passed through the eye hook, and brought round in a circular motion, before being threaded through again. A second circle should be made, and the line passed through again. Keeping the circles together, wrap the line through them a few times. Pull both ends of the line tight to strengthen the knot. You might want to hold the hook steady with some pliers while you do this. The Jansik Special knot is one of the strongest types of knot, and isn't particularly difficult.
- Palomar knot: Twelve and a half centimetres of line should be doubled over and passed through the eye hook. Tie an Overhand knot in the doubled line, and pull the loop down so that it comes over the hook. Pull both ends of the line to tighten the knot. This is considered by many fishing experts to be the strongest knot, if done correctly.
- Hangman's knot: Fifteen centimetres of line should be passed through the eye hook and doubled back on itself. Five loops should be made through the doubled line (rope can accommodate eight turns). At this point, the knot should be starting to form. As the final step, the knot should be pushed up to the eye hook.
Catching a FishIt sounds easy, but there is a certain skill to safely unhooking a fish once it's been caught. It's important to reel the fish in quickly so that its chance to struggle is limited. At the same time, you need to keep it in the water for as long as possible. The quickest way to remove a hook is to get hold of the shank (the straight part) and turn the hook upside down. The fish will hopefully slide off the hook easily, but if you can't remove the hook safely, cut the line as close as possible to the fish's mouth.
EquipmentYou won't get very far without the right equipment! See our article on 'Fishing Equipment' for more information on choosing the right type of fishing gear.
Additional ExtrasPermits and licenses:A fishing rod license is mandatory, and failure to produce one if required can result in prosecution. Read our article on 'Getting A Permit and License' for information on acquiring both.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re pretty much ready to go! Getting help and advice from like-minded anglers can be a real benefit. Many angling clubs have members with a wide range of experience, from beginners to those with decades of fishing under their belt, and this makes them particularly beneficial. See our article on 'Angling Clubs' for more details on finding and joining one.