Do you want to learn how to fish? In this beginner’s guide to fishing, we’ll teach you what you need to know so you can pick up a rod and reel today. For instance, you’ll learn how to obtain a fishing license and where to find the closest spot to fish. Furthermore, we’ll discuss what gear, tackle, and baits to use. In addition, we’ll even run you through the process of casting, netting, and unhooking your first fish.

How To Obtain a Fishing License

First off, before you can start fishing, you’ll need to obtain a fishing license for your state. Specifically, purchasing a permit helps contribute to your state’s conservation efforts. In most states, you’re legally obligated to have proof of a valid fishing license on you while you fish. Thus, if you’re caught angling without a permit, you may get fined by your local conservation agent.

Additionally, an easy way to purchase a fishing license is by clicking on our sitemap page. On the bottom of this page, click on your state, then scroll down to buy a permit.

How To Find a Fishing Spot Near You

First, you need to think of what kind of body of water your state offers, and where you envision yourself fishing the most. For example, do you live in Florida or California? If so, maybe you might see yourself doing a lot of saltwater fishing. Is your state landlocked? Then look into fishing some freshwater ponds, lakes, or rivers.

Now that you know what kind of waters you’d like to fish at, it’s time to find a spot. If you need help locating the closest fishing hole, consider checking out this website, Hook and Bullet. Here’s how to navigate our site to find places near you:

Hook & Bullet map

  1. First, click on the ‘Tackle’ page.
  2. Scroll down to the map labeled ‘bait shops, tackle shops, and fishing spots near me’.
  3. Find and zoom in on your location on the map.
  4. Hit the refresh icon on the map.

The map should now display pinpoint locations of fishing spots in your area.

Starter Gear and Fishing Tackle

Rods and Reels

    KastKing Crixus

The KastKing Crixus rod and reel combo against a white background.
    The KastKing Crixus is a quality rod and reel combo for any beginner learning how to fish. The rod blank is made of durable materials, and its Superpolymer handle is comfortable and easy to grip.

Generally, you want to match your tackle with what species you’re going to target. For instance, if you’re going for smaller fish like sunfish, trout, or crappie, I recommend picking up an ultralight rod. However, if you’re targeting medium to large-sized fish like bass, carp, and catfish, I would go with a medium-light to a medium-heavy rod.

Or if you want to go for a little bit of everything, then I would recommend picking up the 6-foot medium-light KastKing Crixus rod and reel combo. The KastKing Crixus is available in both a spinning and casting combo, although for beginners, I suggest using a spinning reel because they don’t have as much of a learning curve. However, if you’re sure you want to use a bait caster in the long run, then by all means, pick one up and remember repetition is vital.


    Lunkerhunt Topwater Frog

A Lunkerhunt topwater frog against a white background.
    The Lunkerhunt topwater frog is a top-of-the-line product every bass angler should have in their tackle box. This frog features a realistic design and walks across the water smoothly.

Here are some simple lures to get you started fishing that you can use to target multiple species:

Fishing Line

    Berkley Fluorocarbon

Berkley fluorocarbon line against a white background.
    Berkley Fluorocarbon is a high-quality fishing line. Berkley's vanish design makes it so the line seems invisible in clear waters. Additionally, this line is easy to cast, sensitive, and abrasive resistant.

There are three types of fishing line anglers typically use:

  • Monofilament
  • Fluorocarbon
  • Braid

Monofilament is affordable and easy to manage, an excellent choice for beginners. However, monofilament tends to snap easily in weedy or rocky areas where your line can get hung up.

Fluorocarbon is a little more expensive than monofilament, but its benefits outweigh its cost. For example, fluorocarbon is more resistant to abrasion than monofilament, and it offers more sensitivity than braid or mono.

Braid is great for when you’re fishing in areas with heavy cover and vegetation. In addition, it’s stronger than both mono and fluorocarbon, and is less likely to snap after a snag. However, a braided line isn’t the best for clearwater fishing because the fish will detect your line.

Fishing Knots

Knowing how to tie a knot correctly can mean the difference between you landing or losing a fish. Here are some beginner knots you should learn that you can use for most fishing applications:

What Bait To Use

When selecting a bait, choose one that the fish species you’re targeting will likely strike. For example, the best bait for catfish is live fish like bluegill or shad. Whereas, for trout, you would use topwater lures, PowerBait, or artificial flies.

However, all-round classic baits that most fish species will bite on are nightcrawlers and minnows.

How To Fish

Now that you’re all set up on what bait and tackle you’ll need, let’s get to fishing.

Step One: Set Up Your Rig

First, a simple rig to use with nightcrawlers is the split-shot rig. Follow these steps to set up the split-shot rig:

  1. Attach a long-shanked hook to the end of your main line using an improved clinch knot.
  2. Attach a split shot onto your main line, about 12-18 inches above the eye of your hook.

Step Two: Bait Your Hook

Next, bait your hook with your worm. Here’s how to attach the nightcrawler to your hook easily:

  1. First, poke the head of the worm with the hook’s point.
  2. Point the hook down into the worm’s body and thread it up the hook’s shank.
  3. Push the hook’s point out of the worm’s body, exposing the tip of the hook.

Step Three: Cast Out

Follow these steps for casting with a spinning reel:

  1. First, lightly rest the fishing line on your index finger.
  2. Open the bail of your spinning reel, keeping the line pressed against your finger.
  3. Take your free hand and grasp the bottom of the rod’s handle.
  4. Load the rod back behind you, and cast towards your target. Make sure to flick your wrist and release pressure off the line while you throw your line.

Step Four: Set Your Hook

Once you feel a fish strike your line, set your hook by driving your rod up in one quick sweep.

Step Five: Reel Your Fish In

After you set your hook, crank your reel and winch that fish in. If the fish is fighting you, let off on your reel some and try to misdirect the fish. For example, if the fish pulls your line out to the right, sweep your rod to the left.

Step Six: Net Your Fish

Then, once your fish gets within arms reach, scoop it with your net, and secure your catch.

Step Seven: Remove the Hook

Now you’re ready to remove the hook from the fish’s mouth. Grab your fishing pliers and pinch the eye of the hook, turning the eye towards the point until it’s out.

Step Eight: Catch or Release

Lastly, if you plan on keeping your fish, go ahead and thread it onto your stringer. Otherwise, after you unhook your fish, reacclimatise it by gently placing it back into the water.

Now You’re Ready To Start Fishing!

Fishing is one of my favorite pastimes. Additionally, fishing is a fun solo hobby, and it’s even better when you’re tossing lines with friends and family. I hope this article has helped you so you can enjoy the sport just as much as I do.

Do you have any questions about fishing? Please let us know in the comments below. Did you find this article helpful? Then consider sharing it with your friends and family, so they can learn about the sport of fishing too.