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Tips for Beginners Wanting to Take up Fishing in the New Year

You may be considering taking up fishing as a new hobby for 2023. For those who have never caught a fish or even held a rod, here are tips that will help you start your new hobby.

A very important part of fishing is your lure— lures come in various colors and designs. It is helpful to match your lure color to the color of the water you’re fishing in. Of course, you never know precisely what color lures the fish will prefer on any given day, so if you’re not catching anything, try adjusting your colors. However, as a general rule, start by choosing lures that match the water’s color.

  • In green water, lime or chartreuse is a good choice.
  • In clear water, go for white or pearl.
  • And in tannic-stained water, a root beer-styled color will often prove effective.

The shape and size of your lure is important as well. Choose a lure shape and size that lets you “match the hatch.” When predators feed on a school of small, thin fish like anchovies, a small, thin spoon that’s the same shape and size as those baitfish will often prove successful. On the contrary, using a five-inch lure with a wide body in the same scenario may not get a bite.

The profile and length of your lure are important features in this regard because your target may be accustomed to the shape and size of the native baitfish and ignore other offerings.

Next, you should appropriately fit your gear for the size of fish you want to catch— don’t try to get one-size-fits-all rods and reels. The 12-pound-class casting reel anglers use for bass is too heavy for tossing the tiny jigs and spinners that black crappie likes to bite. Likewise, the four-pound-class ultralight ideal for casting micro-jigs to that crappie can’t endure a big largemouth bass. Gear that claims to work for multiple-sized fish won’t be ideal for either task. Rather than trying to make do, get equipment sized for the species you are targeting.

Taking a step back from gear and lures, you might be fishing a style that allows for trolling. If you are taking a shot at trolling (motoring slowly while you tow lures behind the boat), before releasing the lines, hold your lures next to the boat and watch them to ensure they’re swimming realistically. If they look lethargic, try speeding up the boat. Contrarily, if they seem spastic, slow down. This will help you set the most effective boat speed to compliment your lure while also ensuring that you don’t accidentally let out a lure that’s spoiled, damaged, or not swimming correctly.

Fishing line is another variable in the equation for a good fishing experience, and there are many different types of line. As a rule of thumb, remember that braided lines have high sensitivity and great hook-setting power, making them ideal for fishing with lures. On the other hand, monofilament lines have less sensitivity and can stretch quite a bit, making it ideal for when fish begin nibbling on the bait.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should always use new hooks or sharpen your old hooks before casting. Believe it or not, a lot of people go out fishing with their dull old hooks, and while that might catch them a fish or two, there is no doubt they would have had more success with a sharp hook.

Reel drag is also important. The drag is a pair of friction plates inside fishing reels. If the fish pulls on the line hard enough, the friction is overcome, and the reel rotates backward, letting the line out, which prevents the line from breaking. Use a scale to set your reel’s drag. The drag allows a fish to take line instead of pulling against it—causing it to snap; having it set correctly is essential. Most people give a tug on the line until it feels right to them. Unfortunately, that’s a subpar substitute for tying your line to a hand scale and setting the drag to one-third of the line’s rated breaking strength, which is commonly regarded as ideal.

After you have properly assembled your equipment and know the basic dos and don’ts, start considering whether and the environment. You can fish early or late. Many fish species bite the most at dawn and dusk in ambient sunlight. During the mid-day hours, cloud cover can make for better fishing, and in direct sunlight (primarily during summer heat), look for shaded areas. Fish often seek shade when it’s hot and sunny and become more active during hours of the day with lower temps—like us.

In addition to the time of day, if you’re fishing in saltwater, consider the tides and currents before heading out—the ebbing and flowing of the tides greatly impact how, when, and where saltwater fish feed.

Last but not least, do your research. Although this article is just a jumping-off point into the sport of fishing, there is so much information out there that can help you catch fish.

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