How To Fish!

Tips on How to Fish – 7 Easy Steps

STEP 1: For gear, KEEP IT SIMPLE. All you need is a rod and reel, available at a bait shop or outdoor store for about 100 dollars.

Also buy a small spool of monofilament fishing line 8- or 10-pound test, some hooks (jigs), (size 3/8 or ½ ounce), split shot sinkers and swivel hooks. A small tackle box with divided trays and a carrying handle keeps it all organized.

STEP 2: Bait. You can buy minnows, night crawlers (worms) or leeches at a bait shop. You can also use crankbait or artificial jigs to catch your fish. It’s up to you as to what you feel comfortable using. Ask the bait shop owner or a local for what works best.

STEP 3: Spooling your new fishing rod.

Close-faced reel - Unscrew the face of the reel. Before you can spool the line, remove the top part of the reel. Twist is counterclockwise until it’s loose enough to pull off the reel. Some beginner-friendly models have a button you can press to pop off this cap. Unwind any old wire left over by spinning the handle.  Insert the line through line guides at the rod’s tip. Look for the small rings hanging off the bottom of the rod. Starting at the rod’s tip, run the new line through the holes towards the reel. Push the line into the hole on the reel’s cap. Pick up the cap and run the line through the hole in the top. If you don’t do this now, you won’t be able to get the cap on later when you need it. Don’t attach the cap to the rest of the reel yet. Wind the line around the spool in the same direction the reel turns. Like with the other types of rods, the rod’s spool will have a small hollow in the middle where the line rests. Wrap it around this hollow twice so that you’ll have enough to line to tie in place. Tie the end of the line into a knot. Knot it against the reel so the line doesn’t come undone. You can do this with a slip knot, clinch knot, or arbor knot. Make sure the line is securely tied and tight before you move on. Pinch the wire between your thumb and index finger. Crank the handle to load the line. Spool the line until the reel is almost full. Put the cover back on the reel. Grab the reel’s cover, which should have already been threaded with the new line. Twist it clockwise onto the reel to secure it in place. Cut the fishing line off the spool. Add a swivel hook to the end of your line and you are ready to add a lure.

Spinning reel - Open the bail by lifting the wire arm. On spinning reels, the bail is the little wire arm hanging off the reel. Lift the wire up to open the bail, and lift it down to close the bail. Run the new line through the line guides. The line guides are the small loops hanging off the underside of the rod. Start at the far end of the rod, pushing the line through the loops and towards the reel. Run the new line through the line guides. The line guides are the small loops hanging off the underside of the rod. Start at the far end of the rod, pushing the line through the loops and towards the reel. Close the bail by lowering the wire arm. Pull the wire arm as far down as it will go. This locks the wire in place. If the wire comes undone, you’ll need to lift up the bail and redo the knot. Crank the rod’s handle to figure out which way the bail rotates. Make note of the direction the bail rotates, since the wire needs to be loaded in the same direction. Drop the spool of new fishing line on the floor with the label facing upwards and adjust the position of the rod so the line can be loaded correctly. Lightly grip the wire between your thumb and your index finger. Use your free hand as you hold the rod in your other hand. You’ll need to maintain constant pressure. If the line feels taut and doesn’t tangle going onto the reel, you’re holding it correctly. Fill the rod’s spool until it’s almost full. Pinch the line again between your thumb and index finger so it stays straight, then rotate the rod’s crank. Load the line until the reel is almost full. The line should be about 1⁄8 in (0.32 cm) below the spool's rim. Cut the line to detach it from the new spool to finish. Add a swivel hook to the end of your line and you are ready to add a lure.

STEP 4: Casting. Leave room between the tip of your rod and your hook before casting.

Close-faced reel - If you are using a closed reel, move your arm back, clamp down on the reel then move your arm forward (while holding your thumb down on the reel) and watch your line travel through the air. Once it hits the water, let it drop a few seconds, then release your thumb from the reel.

Spinning reel - Hold the rod with your dominant hand. The reel should be below the rod. The reel foot usually goes between your middle finger and your ring finger, but if it feels better (more balanced) between other fingers, go with that. Pull out or reel in line until you have about six inches of line hanging out of the tip of the rod. Turn the handle slowly until the line roller is directly underneath your index finger. Hold the line against the rod with the crook of your index finger. Open the bail with your other hand. Point the rod at your target. In one smooth motion bring the rod up to vertical. Allow it to flex (the tip bends back behind you, this is called “loading” the rod,) without pausing, start to push the rod forward. Note that the movement is happening in your elbow and wrist, not at the shoulder. When the rod tip is halfway to your target, let go of the line with your index finger to send the lure flying (hopefully at your target.) This step is all about timing.


The plug went straight up into the air.

Solution: You released the line too early. Wait a little longer to release the line.

Problem: The plug crashed at your feet.

Solution: You released the line too late. Release the line sooner.

Close the bail with your free hand once you have let out enough line.

STEP 5: FISHING TAKES PATIENCE! It’s common for fish to take several minutes (sometimes hours) to find your baited hook. Moving your rod up and down is one way of attracting fish (it’s called jigging). You can also move your rod up or to the side, and reel in, repeating that motion till your hook is back on the surface. Again, fishing is a game of patience, so don’t get frustrated if it does work right away.

STEP 6: When you feel your rod bend, SET THE HOOK by raising the rod quickly. Make sure you keep tension on your rod (keep it bent) and begin to reel up. It’s handy to have someone on the boat or beside you with a net. It will increase your chances of catching a fish.

STEP 7: Take a photo of your catch. Then gently put the BIG fish back in the water so it can swim away, grow bigger, make babies — and be caught another day.

Walleye caught on the Kenogami River