Fishing for Beginners: The Most Basic Gears, Techniques and Best Fish to Catch

Fishing is a sport that you could do of any age whether you’re an adult or child, it’s more than just catching a fish though, it’s about spending time with friends and family and the outdoors. When you are ready to go and fish. First, looking for a fishing spot, what kinds of fish are in there and then learning to choose essential fishing gear as well as basic techniques and tips to get a successful fishing trip.

In this article, I will round up to the best fish for beginners alongside with suitable techniques, tools you need to have and the top tips to go fishing for beginners. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it!

The most basic fishing gear

Start off with the most basic fishing gear to catch any fish or to be used in any techniques. Of course, you will need some other additional tools for a certain fishing technique or species of fish, which I will talk more details in each section. But here, I want to show you the most basic to fulfill your fishing toolkit.

Beginner fishing rod and reel

It’s important to choose the right combo of fishing rod and reel. And here are my tips for you to opt for the best combo for your situation. The very first thing that almost beginners makes wrong when they’re picking rods is pairing it with the fish they want to catch.

DON’T think about it that way!

You can land pretty much any fish on a broom handle if you want. Needn’t a carbon fiber, a fiberglass, E glass or Fuji.

The technology that we have in these wonderful rods on the market nowadays is for casting MOST OF FISH.

From that point, when starting picking a fishing rod, think about which one you want, what you need to cast, how far you need to cast it as well as the weigh, the situation.

Beginner fishing rod and reel

Image source: Diet of

Picking a rod is about picking the one that will help you cast what you need to cast!!!

When it comes to choosing a suitable fishing rod, there are many features to consider such as length, weight, types, action, etc. that here in this article, I don’t want to talk more about them as I already have one particularly on how to choose the best fishing rods as well as also include my recommendations for an affordable choice. Don’t miss out if you haven’t had a rod yet!

Move on with the reel, in fact, this gear is what you should pay attention to its material when choosing as a reel is arguably much weaker than a rod.

The next feature is weight.

Usually, a reel’s weight is based on the rod’s. For examples, a big beefy reel should go with a big beefy rod. On the contrary, a light reel will pair with a light rod.

Also, look at the price, too!

You don’t want to go for a 200-dollar reel at the very first-time fishing, right? Though it’s a good investment for a long-term fishing, with newbies, especially when they still don’t have much experience and knowledge on how to use it effectively and properly, chances will they themselves break their reel.

So, my advice here is to choose an affordable reel first and then, after you get some feeling and experience on fishing, drop money on more expensive and better reels.

Line

Line

Image source: Craghoppers

There are basically 4 types lines out there. The three most common are monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon which is all mentioned deeply in my Best Fishing Line Buying Guide article.

Recently, I find out the forth fishing line that is hybrid.

Though they are the most expensive in those four options, a hybrid line is very worth to invest as they are the thinnest line without stretch or memory. In fact, they act a little bit like monofilament and a little bit like a braid.

The key characteristics of the hybrid are their better abrasion resistance as well as great castability. In other words, it works best for small diameters, like a 4-pound test, 6-pound test, and even 8-pound test.

This kind of line pairs greatly with ultralight rods when you are finesse fishing for bass, bluegill or something.

But there are some cons.

Along with its costly price, these hybrid fishing lines are hard to find in big school, but just the small school.

Hook

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will use to catch fish. Having the right hook is more important than your rod, reel, line, and tackle. If you don’t have much money, buy a cheap rod and reel, but never go with a cheap hook.

Firstly, you need to know all parts of a fishing hook.

Hook

Image source: http://laterallineco.com

As you can see, there are eye, shank, bend, point, and barb. You will also hear the term: hook offset. This is when the hook point is not parallel to the shank.

Hook sizes are not universal.

Each manufacturer its own sizes so, a Gamakatsu hook won’t be the same size as a Daiichi. Additionally, different types of hooks come in different sizes. However, hook sizes are roughly equivalent to the types and manufacturers.

Size

There are two sizes you need to be aware of: numbers and aughts. Numbers are smaller than aught. Another thing is the larger the number, the smaller the hook.

Picking hook size is always a compromise.

Smaller hooks are harder for the fish to detect. They are easier to set, affected-less by current, can be cast further and fit into a fish’s mouth much easier.

However, they are easier for the fish to swallow which can result in gut hooking. They are weaker and tearing out a fish’s mouth easier. Also, you will end up catching smaller fishes than the big ones.

I like to pick a hook that’s a bite-size, like a doughnut hole. In fact, the size of fish’s mouth will determine the size of your needed hook.

Types

Actually, there are tons of hook types, but here are the most common: the simple J hook,

Name Used for
The simple J hook Pair with baits or lures
Baitholder hook Keep the baits from sliding off the hook
Siwash hook Attach to lure, usually used as a trailer for different types of bass lures such as sushi spoons, deep water jigs
Aberdeen hook Hookworms and let them spins slowly when trolling or retrieving
Circle hook Primarily for bait fishing and they don’t have to be set like J hooks
Octopus hook Good for small baits and very strong for their size. Work well on large powerful fish with a small mouth. Usually used in salmon fishing
Super J hook Great for live baits or large pieces of cut-up fish
Shiner hook Fishing for largemouth bass with live minnows
Treble hooks Great for keeping soft baits like salmon eggs and liver. But be careful, they might tear the fish’s mouth and even in some fishing spots, they don’t allow to use this hook.
Worm hook Used for soft plastic worm and other soft plastic baits, not for fishing with real worms.
Swimbait hook Keep your swim baits upright the water and help it stay on the hook.
Jig hook Designed to swim point side up to drag it over a sunken log or bounce across rocks.

Used for soft plastic lures or with baits like dead minnows

Weedless hook Fishing around weeds.

Enable to protect hook point from catching on weeds

Perfect for fishing in the grass or thick weedy vegetation.

Can be used with baits or lure

Punch bait and stinkbait hook Designed to grip soft buoy baits

Different kinds of fishing

There are a lot of people asking me this question. Actually, there are a lot of kinds of fishes, but here I will round up to three most common which are the freshwater fish, the tropical fish, and the saltwater fish.

In terms of the best fish for beginners, you can try catching bass, trout, and catfish. They are easy to catch, come in different size species and also fun to get.

Bass fishing for beginners

Bass fishing is an incredible thing. If you want to be a master in catching bass, there are three things you need to keep in mind (and learn) which are bass behavior, bass fishing techniques and equipment needed.

Bass fishing for beginners

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Bass behavior and techniques

They said that those who saw through life and death would meet with most success, and it’s true. You need to understand habitat and behavior of bass, how many species there are, which kinds of foods they like, their weight and other stuff like that. Along with that, there are different techniques for certain species, in different fishing spots.

That’s why I highly recommend you to consult my article “Bass Fishing: All About Bass” as here, other than bass and their species or behavior, I also give you secret tips and tricks in bass fishing as well. If you are 100% newbie to bass, this is a good reference for you. On the contrary, let’s skip it and move to the next section.

Bass fishing gear

Rod and reel

There are two primary things about reel which are baitcasting reel and a spinning reel. Similarly, in terms of the bass fishing rod, there are two: the casting rod and the spinning rod. They are different but they do the same thing.

And as I mentioned before, each type of rod will go with a certain type of reel. Here are two formulas:

  • Spinning reel + spinning rod = spinning setup
  • Baitcasting reel + casting rod = bait cast setup
Technique Purpose Spool
Spinning setup Used more for smaller lures and lighter line Fixed
Bait cast setup Used more for larger lures and heavier line Revolve or spin

With the bass fishing rod, in a brief talk, you should go for around 7ft long rod with medium heavy power and fast action, that’s going to be a very jack-of-all-trades rod.

About rod, the key characteristics you should bear in mind is gear ratio. Consider how much line the reel takes in with ONE turn of the handle. Actually, higher gear ratio reels are often called “high-speed” reels.

Next is whether it’s left-handed or right-handed. Choose the one that’s comfortable for you.

My recommendation is to go for low-profile baitcasting reel with 6:4:1 gear ratio.

Which gear is good for you?

Actually, if you wander around another page of bass fishing, they will advise you to opt for spinning setup as it’s easy to catch fish. Not saying that it doesn’t come in the backlash which makes the line tangle into itself on the reel, which is annoying and difficult to deal with, like the bait cast set up.

Which gear is good for you

Image source: Fishing & Hunting

In fact, such this backlash make bait casting the reputation of being hard to use but that’s not I agree with. I’d say that the bait caster has a slightly higher learning curve.

Thus, when you first pick it up, start to learn how to cast it, it’s going to be a little bit more challenging and needs some practice.

BUT overall, in a long-term, I’d not say that it’s difficult to use over a spinning reel.

It’s even more versatile. About 95% of what you will eventually learn to do in bass fishing can be done with a bait caster.

What to spend

Low cost

If you have a tight budget or just want to have a good time with your friends and family, let’s choose those “combo” versions for under $100. They perform quite well, but just in low durability. It’s suitable for those who don’t usually go fishing.

Spend more

If you want to be a professional fisherman or win the trophy, invest for pricier rods and reels. Their quality, of course, will be entry-level more than the affordable price ones. They also come in better durability and more functional. Each gear should go equal or more than $100.

They are bang for your buck.

Line

In terms of bass fishing line, go for the stronger one with a greater diameter or bulkier presentation so that they will deliver more intrusive to bass. However, larger diameter line will have a disadvantage which is a visible line, which means chances will fish recognize and won’t eat the bait.

The smaller diameter will come in invisible ability than increase more chances to catch big bass. However, it will lead to less strength than the larger diameter. From that point, this is a give-and-take rule in choosing a line for bass.

Bait and tackle

Actually, there are 6 primary bait types which are spinnerbait, topwater, soft plastics, hard baits, jigs, and swimbaits. Each type comes in different shape and functions that I will show you one-by-one clearly in this table below.

Types Characteristics For examples
Spinnerbaits Easy to use

Colorful and look lively to attract bass more

Effective year-round

Colorado

Willow Leaf

Single or Doubled bladed

Topwater Work greatly on the water surface

Effective during peak feeding time

Used to an active bass

Buzzbaits, frogs, prop baits, wake baits and poppers.
Soft plastics Various styles

Arguably a slow-moving bait

Rigged to a hook with weights added as needed

Need to develop a “feel” for working baits and for detecting bites.

Worms, creature baits, trailers, flukes, lizards, tubes, and craws
Hard baits Used to catch fish with quick movements to trigger a reaction

Crankbaits dive to varying depths depending on the shape of their lip

Crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, jerk baits, spoons.
Jigs Come in basic design but can function differently

Swim jigs and bladed jigs are moving baits

The fish slowly along the bottom

Usually paired with a complimentary piece called a trailer

Swim jig, football head jigs, chatterbait, bladed jigs.
Swimbaits Various styles but all aim to realistically mimic a bass’s natural food source

Often a more expensive bait

Soft bodied, hard-bodied, jointed paddle tail

About terminal tackle, they are literally items that assist the bait presentation, which includes things like hooks, weights, and swivels. Hooks come in different sizes and shapes. When going out to buy some hook, keep in mind to opt for 3 to 6 aughts or very standard size.

Other technique might use 1 aught or 2 aught.

The measuring stick of all hooks is their sharpness. The sharper hook increases chances of landing a bass.

In terms of weight, those which are made of dense materials are very preferable.

Beginner saltwater fish

Gear

When it comes to beach fishing or saltwater fishing, those features that you need to consider will be a little bit different from those for freshwater fishing.

As I said before, rod and reel will not depend on which types of fish you are going to catch, but how far you cast, the weigh and situation.

Gear

Image source: Brave Hunters

With beach fishing, you will need a longer rod, roughly 9 feet long so that when pulling or casting, it’s much easier.

Besides, it helps you to cast further. Again, if you intend to go for a long-term, invest on a good salt fishing rod and reel.

The biggest advantage of such pricier gear is not only their better durability but also the warranty.

Things that I want to talk about reels is opting for the bait runner as it helps to keep the rod stay fixed even when fish is pulling the line. Another thing is that salt fishing reels are anti-corrosion ability. As you know, when going saltwater fishing, chances do salt will stick on the lines and get into your reel.

That’s why you should never use a freshwater reel for salt fishing. It’ll be ruined quickly.

In terms of line, I highly recommend you to go for the braided as they are very, very strong. The biggest advantage is it doesn’t stretch to deliver sensitivity and better feeling when setting the hook.

But, as I mentioned above, when choosing a line, there’s a give-and-take rule of thumb. The greater diameter, more chances do fish see the line and spook it.

Now, it’s rig!

There are a lot of kinds, but here, for beginners, I will only talk about ONLY ONE rig – the Sabiki rig. With it, I can guarantee that 100% you will catch fish. Besides, sometimes, you don’t even need a bait at all.

They are cheap – easy – effective.

Last but not least, bait!

If you want me to only pick one bait for saltwater fishing, my ever choice is squid because they stay on very well along with fishy smell to attract other fish more effectively.

Bloodworms are also good, but the biggest disadvantage is they are easy to take off the hook.

Fishing tips for beginners

Now, I will share you some best tips when going saltwater fishing.

First thing first is the way to hook a bait. Usually, I will cut squid into smaller strips. But don’t quickly hook just one strip and start fishing as it’s very easy to come out. Instead, loop it multiple times, like 2 or 3 times. Baits will stay on the hook longer and sturdier.

When casting, try and get it out as far as you can because basically, it allows you more opportunity for a fish to see your lure. Besides, keep your hand continuously moving up and down to make a slight movement to your rod and bait. It will look more natural and attract fish more.

Fly fishing for beginners

When it comes to fly fishing, there are many things you need to understand.

Fly fishing for beginners

Image source: www.flyfishingforbeginners.com

One is we’re using the weight of the line to bend the long flexible fly fishing rod. Don’t go for such fly line outside the tip of our rod because we can’t make a cast. We need to make our rod bend and try to make a loop that unrolls off the tip of the rod.

Then, we either let it fall into the water and begin fishing or we go right into a second backstroke and another forward stroke. We can use that to move to fly around and do some other things.

The other thing you need to know is the tip of a fly fishing rod. It needs to travel back and forth in a straight line in order to achieve those loops.

The narrower the loop, the more aerodynamic is.

The more energy efficient it is, the easier will be for you to cast out long distances.

This requires you to keep your wrist firm and not bend. If you do bend your wrist, the only thing your rod can do is go back and forth in the windshield wiper motion which is a complete opposite of the straight line we are looking for.

Fly fishing needs a lot of practice to get the feels. You need to control the angles, the trajectory, and the speed. To guide you more detail and lively, kindly consult this video below:

Ice fishing

Gear

Ice fishing is truly interesting.

But it’s essential to equip yourself some basic equipment and gear as well as knowledge to fish joyfully and safely.

First of all, you need to have either an auger or a spud bar to break the ice. I recommend getting an auger as it’s a small investment, you can probably get one for around $50. (I usually go with a hand auger for any ice fishing.)

Next is a fishing rod.

Rods used for ice fishing is very special, as you don’t need to cast like when bank fishing or fly fishing, it’s quite short and compact. And the ideal length for an ice fishing rod is roughly 25-28 inches.

Besides, consider a medium action rod to fight with larger fishes. By the way, I will talk a little bit about baits. The only baits I use is a Swedish pimple coming in silver or gold tone to mimic the shad.

The biggest advantage is other than its easiness to use, this bait can catch every species, such as bass, walleye, bluegill and things like that.

And I also go with some 4-pound test on that equipment, usually trying to learn whatever is available though.

Another thing you should have is an ice scooper to clear out the hole laughter you drilled it.

With newbie in ice fishing, chances might you fall into the fishing hole, thus, it’s also important to get some ice spikes. To use it, you should have it around your neck, when unluckily, you fall in, step them into the ice and gradually crawl out the hole.

Safety first

Ice must be more than 15 inches thick to drive a truck safely on it. Also, you should bring along some emergency stuff such as lighter, matches, extra clothing, blankets, candles and thick socks to keep you safe in case something goes wrong.

Also, you should not head out on the ice alone, go with friends or family. It’s essential to wear warm clothes, waterproof footwear, and cold-weather gear.

How to ice fishing

First thing first, you need to know what fish you are fishing for. Do they like to hang out in the deep open-water or do they like to cruise the weeds near the shore?

Make sure you clear the snow away before setting up your tent to see the ice.

How to ice fishing

Image source: Colorado Outdoors Online

Now, after making a fishing hole in your anger, you should calculate the depth by using a tip up and a sinker on the end of the hook which is also known as a roach clip. Most tips up are designed to let the spool be under the water while itself is set up.

The water protects the spool and line from freezing in the cold air. There are some tips up coming up with a windlass design which keeps the ice fishing line school. Most of them above the water.

I generally take the line and bring it up a couple of feet off the bottom, use a bobber to determine the mark of our line. We usually fish about 4 to 5 feet of water.

When you are ice fishing, it’s legal to use two lines at once. Now, drop your line into the water, secure the flag and tip up the rake. When a fish bites your hook, the flag will spring up, walk up to the tip and set the hook quickly.

If the fish wants to run with your line, let it and reel in slowly. If you catch a fish, remember to a look properly.

Conclusion

So, I have just gone through the most common types of fishing including bass fishing, saltwater fishing, fly fishing and ice fishing. In sum up, you need to remember the most basic fishing gear for a fishing trip as well as learning some suitable techniques to get a big trophy, making your fishing trip more joyful and fun. Hopefully, this article helped you get some useful knowledge about this sport and wish you have a wonderful trip with your friends and family.

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