By Koaw – May, 2017

Read this article or watch the video on YouTube

1) You Need a Fishing License:

In the United States, each individual state requires a fisherperson to have a fishing license. State governments are the issuers of licenses either directly (purchase on their websites) or indirectly (purchase through a third-party, like a bait shop.) Licenses usually cost $15-$50 depending on the type.

For example, if you already have a license for Minnesota and want to fish in California, you will need to also purchase a California license to fish in Californian waters. However, some licenses are valid for multiple states.

Certain individuals do not need to purchase licenses, such as children under a certain age and those having certain disabilities. Where do you find out if you qualify? Hop onto google and type in “Fishing License (+ the state you wish to fish).”

Make sure you are going to a .gov site.  Why? In the U.S., state governments issue fishing licenses and all government websites end in .gov addresses. Not every state will have the same department label; depending on the state, the fishing regulatory agency might by a DNR or Department of Natural Resources or a WCC or Wildlife Conservation Commission or some other variant.

Buying a License:

The Internet is the easiest way to purchase your fishing license via the state’s .gov website. You can print out a copy of your license and/or receive a card via snail-mail. Also, many bait shops and large sporting-goods stores sell licenses—even some Wal-Marts sell licenses.

2) Know the Regulations:

The United States has one of the best recreational fisheries in the world, compromising of a multi-billion dollar industry, and it is tightly regulated by government regulatory agencies. It would be a shame to receive a violation and/or fine for fishing illegally when you have no intentions of doing any illegal fishing.

What will you look for in the regulations? Check all of the rules for the waters you will be fishing. Your state fisheries regulatory agency will have free pamphlets and/or printouts for you to bring with you and/or access on your smartphone. Check the species that you are allowed to fish, the size limits, the keep quota (how many you can take home), and the season you are allowed to fish for that species. Also check the methods of fishing allowed for those species; (yes, there are many different ways to fish, even with a rod and reel.)

3) Find Some Gear:

The Rod and Reel:

The spincast reel is the easiest to start on. You press-and-hold a button before the cast and release the button as you cast—easy as pie. The spinning reel is also very simple to use and great for novices.  (I’ll go over how to better use these in subsequent tutorials.)

Tackle: The term “tackle” refers to all of the accessories that will be attached to the line to aid in catching a fish (and in many regions, also includes the rod, reel, nets, buckets, etc..) This includes things like line, hooks, lures, flies, plastics, bobbers, weights, and swivels. So, you will need to figure out how you want to fish—and there are many, many ways.

The easiest? A weighted-hook with a bobber—then attach a worm or leech to the hook. That is probably the most stereotypical perspective on how to fish, but it works.

More importantly, you will change your tackle and pole setups according to the fish desired for catching. To fish for pike with a bobber and worm would not be practical—fishing for sunfish and trout with a bobber and worm makes sense.

Must-Have Accessories:

Plyers and something for cutting. Many times you will need to reach places your fingers cannot and/or cut the line.

Let’s go over the prep one more time:
Get a license, know the regulations, and then get some gear.

Good Luck!