Let’s say that you have just decided that you want to go fishing, but you have never gone before. Luckily, the sport doesn’t require much, and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. You don’t need much. Having some of the basics can help you to have a good experience, however.
What do I need to fish for the first time? Some of the essential things that you will need to fish for the first time include a state fishing license, a fishing rod and reel, 4 to 12-pound test monofilament, fishing weights, fishing hooks, plastic bobber and live bait or fishing lures.
Everything You Need
- State fishing license
- Fishing rod and a fishing reel
- 4 to 12-pound test monofilament
- Fishing weights
- Fishing hooks
- Plastic bobber
- Live bait
- Fishing lures
- Fishing stringer or bucket
You can use the above mentioned bullet list as a checklist for what you will need for fishing. Below, I have highlighted why you will need these items for fishing and how to distinguish which type of gear you will need.
State Fishing License
Before you can go fishing, you need a state fishing license. In most cases, if you get caught without a license, you will have to pay a fine. You could also have to serve up to 90 days in jail, depending on the circumstances, but in most cases, you don’t have to worry about jail time. That doesn’t mean that you should disregard having a license. The fine and punishment will depend on the state, but every state requires that you have a fishing license. This helps to fund America’s lakes and keep them beautiful. It goes to a good cause, so it is worth the small cost.
Fishing Rod and Fishing Reel
I mention fishing rod and fishing reel as one thing that you need because of how the fishing rod will often come with the reel. If it doesn’t come with the reel, you may have to buy it separately. That can be an advantage because of how you can buy the reel you want, but for a beginner, this could be too much. I’d recommend that you simply buy the rod and reel as one. Choose a rod based on the type of fish that you want. For example, a catfish rod was built larger and to take more abuse than a regular fishing rod.
4 to 12-pound Test Monofilament
The pound test that you will need depends on the targeted fish,. For sunfish, you usually want 4-pound test because of how they won’t snap the line easily for this. If you plan to fish for bass, northern pike and walleye, you will usually want 8-pound test or higher.
The advantage of lower pound test is that it has more precision, and you have a higher casting range. Precision matters because of how you can place your cast closer to the weeds with greater accuracy.
Beginner fishermen need fishing weights because of how, otherwise, that line won’t go underwater correctly. You have a large variety of weights or sinkers to choose from. You can choose between steel or lead weights, but steel has the advantage of being heavy without the negative health benefits. In addition, steel doesn’t cost too much. Steel works well for any weight that you don’t need crimped onto a line.
You could also choose tin, a non-toxic alternative to lead, but this tends to be shinier than other choices. Physical shape, design and weight are the key choices. Having the wrong weight is one of the surefire ways that you will send the fish in the other direction.
The size of your fishing hooks that you will need for fishing depends on the size of the fish. When going for sunfish, you want a hook between the size of 8 to 12. For northern pike, you can experiment with the size, but I have found 5/0 as the best option.
Remember: Choose the hook size according to the size of the fish that you want to catch.
You don’t want too small of a hook for a target fish species because if the fish swallows it, you can’t release it in most cases. The fish dies anyway. Larger fish will swallow small hooks more deeply, and that makes it hard to practice catch and release. Not my choice to begin with, but some fishermen may prefer this practice.
Smaller bobbers work better for smaller fish because of how it can take the bait more easily. Generally, the bigger your target fish, the bigger the bobber that you want. A bigger bobber will suspend your bait to make it look more attractive to the fish. What bobber you need depends on the type of fish you want, but typically fishermen use bobbers when they go fishing for sunfish, which means that you will want a smaller bobber.
What makes bobbers necessary? Bobbers suspend the baits so that it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the lake. In addition, it signals to you once the fish takes your bait. As soon as the bobber goes underwater, you will know it. You will also know once a fish starts to play with your line.
Match the bobber size with your bait size. The bobber should hold its buoyancy without sinking. If it goes underwater, this defeats the purpose of it.
Important to note, you will either need live bait, or you will need fishing lures. This depends on you. In some cases, you will want to bring along both. Live bait works effectively because of how you present a fish with bait that they might already be eating. As much as possible, you want to make the bait as close to the natural texture and taste of the foods in its environment. This increases your chances of him taking the bait.
In some cases, you can even get live bait for free. While you can visit the bait shop, you could also choose to dig it up in your backyard. If you’re going after sunfish, for example, you will dig up the worms for fishing. Few fish will turn down the opportunity for live bait.
Fishing at night for walleye and trout can especially prove powerful with live bait. They get caught more often on natural bait after daylight hours.
Every good fisherman will have fishing lures in his tacklebox to choose at different points. You will want to buy for a variety of colors because of how what the fish will bite on will vary depending on the weather and the fish’s mood.
The seven different types of fishing lures that you have include:
- Soft plastic baits
The advantage of lures is that you will find everything you need at the baitshop or a great outdoors store. Lures especially come in hand when you want to cover a lot of fishing ground all at once. For example, I’ve used spoons when I go trolling, and I usually try to stay right along to weedline to pull out the northern pike lurking nearby.
Fishing Stringer or Bucket
Unless you have a boat with a livewell, you will either need a fishing stringer, or you will need a bucket full of water to keep the fish. The fishing stringer hooks the fish through the gills, and as you catch more, you put the stringer through their gills. It can be highly rewarding to have a stringer full of fish like this. You can also use a bucket, and the only thing that you have to do is fill the bucket with water and put the fish in it.
These are the items that you will need for the first time fishing. Luckily, you don’t need a whole lot to go fishing. If you want to go out on the water, you will either need a fishing boat, kayak or a canoe. That can be a big investment to sink your cash into right off the bat, but if you decide that you like fishing, it is well worth it.