Fishing Skills for New Anglers


As a new angler one thing you do not want to do is go to your local corner fishing store, or online fishing supply store and blindly start buying items without any knowledge of what works best in your area. Some items in a fishing supply store will be helpful, others will not be helpful for your area.

Often neighborhood fishing store employees or online fishing store employees are very helpful, you may get some good and honest information from such sources on what you need.

There are some problems with getting all your advice from a fishing supply store. If you are relying on information from your local fishing supply store as your sole source of information you run the possibility that:

  • They may give advice based on not what you need, but on what they want to sell.
  • Also store employees will sometimes give exaggerated fishing reports in order get you to buy gear to help you catch a type of fish that is not actually biting.
  • A store employee might not be experienced in fishing your area at all. The person you’re talking to may have a lifetime of experience fishing from boats 10 miles offshore. You may need advice on fishing from bridges near shore and thus need a different skill and knowledge set.

For the most area specific up to date fishing information ask local fishermen from the exact spot you intend to fish.  

It is best to ask local fishermen in your area what their preferred gear is. Fishing skills can be very area specific and the person who is fishing the environment you want to fish is the best source of information.
Don’t be shy, if a local fisherman is not in the process of setting up their own stuff, and if fish are not biting when you are talking to them, they may be willing to help. You will have to ask several different people for pointers over various different visits. One person will give some information that the last person forgot to mention.

In many instances a few types of plentiful easy to target fish will bite well throughout the year. If this is the case in your area you may want to keep it simple and learn what easy to catch fish bite in your area, then learn from local anglers how to target them. It is best to know the best gear, bait, and fishing skills, to use for fish species that commonly bite in your area

 Go to the area where you will likely be fishing most often and ask the local anglers the following four questions:

  • Ask what types of fish do people catch here most often?

  • What is the best bait for those types of fish?

  • What size line do you recommend for the fish here?

  • What size and type of hook or lure would you recommend?

Learn the above four pieces of information for the most commonly caught type of fish in your area and you will be on your way to catching fish.

Next you can start to shop for the right fishing gear.



Eventually you will learn that seasons will influence how you fish. In our oceans fish have something in common with birds. Like birds saltwater fish have the freedom to migrate vast distances. In the ocean fish may migrate hundreds of miles South in the Fall or hundreds of miles North in the Spring. In such cases Pompano may be biting one time of the year and Striped Bass at another time. And you will use different methods and gear and fish at different depths for these two completely different fish.

In freshwater you may encounter the same natural migrations to a lesser degree with fish passing through various areas to breed.

Sometimes it is not the fish that move around, but the laws that change. One time of year it may be illegal to catch a specific type of fish, at another time it will be perfectly legal to catch that type of fish.

 You can increase your chances of catching fish by learning when and how to target specific types of seasonal or migratory fish.

As a beginner you can start to target a few types of seasonal at a time. Don’t be intimidated, this is a beginner level skill that you should start learning early on. Targeting fish is a great skill because one day some type of seasonal fish will be biting like there is no tomorrow and you will want to know what lures, hooks, and line to use, if you are not prepared you will miss out.

Learning the basic skills to catch the upcoming seasons fish is easy. Learning all the fish, all the fish seasons, and how to catch them can take years or a lifetime depending on the diversity of fish species in your area.

When you learn how to catch fish, and when and how to target specific types of seasonal fish do not try to remember it all.

Most people have a calendar on their smart phone.  
1) Make a note on your phones calendar for the months that a certain type of fish will be biting, or when it’s legal season starts.

2) Also make any other note like best bait or best locations to fish for it.

3) Set that event to repeat yearly so that next year you will have the information you are looking for. This way you will have a reminder of that fishes upcoming season each and every year.  

With some knowledge, practice, and perseverance, you will be on your way to becoming a skilled angler. As the years pass you will grow in experience and find that you have a lifelong hobby that allows you to make new friends and put food on the table.     

Click here for part two of this article to be released May 1st 2019. 

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