They say that fishing is one of the most relaxing activities in the world, and yet most of the people reading this article will never have given it a try. Spending a few hours – or even an entire day – sat by the edge of a body of water waiting for a bite is a great way to take a break away from the monotony of everyday life. The stresses and strains of your family and home life simply cease to exist for that precious period of time. It’s a chance to unwind, reflect, and get back in touch with nature.

Even though fishing is enormously popular as a pastime all over the world – there are almost fifty million people who take part in the hobby every year in the United States of America alone – a lot of people don’t feel like they know how to start, and therefore never give it a chance. That’s a great shame. It’s often said in life that so long as something is legal and permissible, you should try it once to find out if you like it. With that in mind, we’re going to try to give you an outline of the basics so you can get involved if you want to.

We’re not going to focus on general fishing gear here. There are a million articles on the internet that explain how to put together all the gear you need for a first-time fishing trip, and we don’t want to add to that number. Instead, we’ll focus on the practicalities and the little things that nobody tells you before you head out with a rod for the first time.

You May Need a License

This is something a lot of people get wrong by accident. In the majority of locations, you can’t simply turn up by the side of a lake or a stream and start to fish – you need a fishing license. The precise penalties for being caught fishing without a license vary from state to state and country to country, but they can involve fines of several thousand dollars, and even prison sentences in extreme cases. Although thousands of people do fish illegally, we wouldn’t want you to join that number. Once you’ve identified a location you’d like to fish in – and you know when you’d like to go fishing – you should perform an online search to find out whether you need a license to fish in that location, and how you go about acquiring one. They’re usually available for a nominal fee, and so the price shouldn’t be an impediment to your desire to give the hobby a try.

Patience Is A Virtue

Fish don’t exactly fall over themselves to get on the end of your rod. Catching a fish requires time and patience. Often, just casting your rod into the water disturbs the fish around the area that it falls into, and it takes a while for them to come back and be tempted by your bait. Just because nothing is happening in the first hour or so doesn’t mean that nothing will happen at all. You could actually make a strong comparison between going fishing and playing online slots on a website like There’s even a very popular online slots game called Fishin’ Frenzy that has been based around the concept. Both fishing and online slots are based on the idea of putting a little something in with the intention of getting something more valuable in return – and both usually require time and repetition to get right. You’ll get your jackpot if you wait long enough, so don’t let the lack of action put you off. This is why a lot of people take a good book with them when they go fishing.

fisherman, fish, fishing boat

Respect The Unwritten Rules

As well as the written rules and regulations that sometimes come along with fishing, there are also some unwritten rules, and if you want to stay on good terms with more experienced fishers, you should learn them. The most important one is to give everyone else enough space. If you arrive at a location and find someone’s already fishing there, you might think it’s a good opportunity to sit next to them and make a new friend. This is never a good idea. All you’re doing is halving the chances of them making a good catch of their own. The best practice is to sit at least 75 feet away from the nearest person, and maybe go and say hello when you’re taking a break. Also, observe what other people do when they actually do catch a fish. Even though some places aren’t marked as catch-and-release only, it might be frowned upon to take a fish out of the water and fail to put it back in again. Let the actions of more experienced people be your guide.

Start With Lakes

Someone who has extensive experience of fishing will likely have no problem catching fish from a river. That’s because they know which bait appeals to which fish, and how to read the water. That’s the kind of knowledge that you can only accumulate with time. When you’re new to the hobby, you’ll get more satisfaction of fishing at a larger body of water. A lake is your best candidate. The fish in streams and rivers are usually well-fed, and less likely to be interested in your bait. Fish in lakes are more plentiful, which means there’s more competition for food. In practice, that means that the fish are hungrier, and therefore more inclined to investigate your bait. You’ll never forget the feeling of catching your first bass or rainbow trout, and you’ll only find them in lakes. You can progress to catching salmon from streams when you’re more accomplished.

Partner Up With Someone Experienced

Although some people enjoy the solitude of fishing alone, most people would agree that it’s better when you have company. Even if you’ve got all the right gear and you’ve read all the best guides, you’ll still benefit from having someone there who can verify that you’re casting correctly, and you’re tying your knots properly. Fishing can be a great bonding experience if you’re heading out for a whole day with somebody and having someone else to keep you motivated stops your attention from lapsing at crucial moments. It would be terrible if you got your first bite and missed it because you didn’t react quickly enough! Find yourself a fishing mentor, and let them show you the ropes.

By following these five simple tips, you’ll make sure that you’re always on the right side of the law, and you’re not disturbing anyone else’s peaceful fishing time. It’s hard to put into words why fishing is so much fun, and so we encourage you to head out into the open air and give it a try yourself!