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Learning To Fish: Teaching An Old Frog To Jump On Sticks
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The old saying goes that if you give a man a fish, he will eat for the day, but if you teach a man to fish he will spend all day in the sun drinking beer. Okay, maybe that is not quite how that goes. Learning to fish can be as simple as threading a nice juicy night-crawler through a hook and dangling him in a pond for a couple of hours on a nice summer’s day, or it can be more complicated involving knot tying techniques, books, websites and classes. Regardless of the method that you plan to learn for fishing, there are a few universals that apply. A successful fisherman must:

1. Learn patience. Fish do not by nature hop willy-nilly into your boat, because they do not want to get caught, they just don’t. Sometimes you will find a hot spot where you are dragging them in left and right, sometimes you do not get a nibble all day. If you have no patience, then do not go fishing.

2. Know the basic fishing laws and regulations. Nothing can ruin a nice fishing trip than a not so friendly visit with the game warden, so make sure that you have your license, are fishing within season and at the right locations. Read the booklet that you will get when you apply for your license.

3. Save the drinking for after the fishing is wrapped up for the day. This is especially important if you are out on a boat for the day.

4. Know the type of equipment that you are using and how to safely repair it if an issue arises. Lines break, you lose hooks and bobbers or reels pull free. If you cannot repair the gear, then your day is done, usually before you intended for it to be.

Once you know the basic needs of fishing: pole, line, hooks and other tackle, then you can start learning technique. It is a good idea to practice your casting before you head out on the water, especially if you are going with a fairly large group of people.

Attach a small weight to your line and cast out, experimenting with the amount of line that you allow to trail out and working toward a smooth, jerk-free reeling in process. Start small, fishing for sunfish and small, freshwater pan fish and then work your way to the bigger boys. Happy fishing!

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