Mike Iaconelli

Back to basics: The big picture

This is the last in our series about how to fish if you’re new to the sport or if you want to take a kid fishing. The thing I want to emphasize here is that fishing is fun. You can do it almost anywhere and in most parts of the country even if we’re still having issues with the pandemic. So the thing is that you want to keep things to the basics. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and you don’t have to make it harder than it is in reality.

As you read this you might want to go back and reread some of the ones I‘ve written before in this series. There’s more detail in them. 

You’ll need a rod, reel and line. There’s no reason to spend more than $50 on beginner’s equipment. Every manufacturer has combos that sell in that price range. I have a spincast combo and an open face combo that are less than that. They’re designed to give you what you need to get started, no more and no less. They come with line already spooled on them, too, so that’s a plus. 

Terminal tackle is the same. Go with the basics—hooks, bobbers, split shot sinkers and the like. You can use live bait if you want but it can be expensive and a hassle to keep fresh. There are thousands of small lures and plastic baits available that are reasonably priced. 

If you’re on a budget, Berkley Gulp? is your best bet in my opinion. It comes in every size and shape imaginable. You can keep it in a jar so it’ll stay fresh forever. Best of all, it catches every species of fish that swims in the water.

Put everything together by attaching your bait, and using a sinker or weight if that’s necessary. Once that’s done you’ll be good to go.

One thing I do want to mention is the drag on your reel. It’s important because it lets a fish pull line off your reel without breaking anything. Getting it just right can be difficult if you’re new to the sport. If you get confused, remember it’s better if it’s too loose as opposed to being too tight. You’ll lose fewer fish with it set that way. 

You can find a place to go fishing easy enough. Try the internet first. State wildlife sites as well as those of the bigger fishing groups—especially those on Facebook—are the places to start. You can also ask tackle shops for help or private citizens and businesses for permission to fish their waters. Do not fish anywhere without permission. 

Make sure everything you do is legal. Check out what kind of licenses you need—for both adults and kids. And, comply with any other rules, regulations or laws that might be in effect. And always wear a lifejacket.   

There are a series of videos that go along with these columns. They are posted up on YouTube. You can find them by searching, Let’s try fishing: Fishing for beginners 101. Watch them carefully. They explain everything in detail and in a visual form.   

It’s been a pleasure working on this project. My great passion is to get more people fishing, especially kids.