Freshwater Fishing 101: Everything You Need to Know


Fishing is one of the most popular hobbies associated with boating. If you live near a lake or a river, you can enjoy freshwater fishing, whether you’re looking for something tasty to cook for dinner or you just want a pleasant bonding experience with your friends and family members.

Still, if you’re new to the world of freshwater fishing, you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge and experience you seemingly need to be proficient. But don’t worry – you can get started even with the basics.


One of the first items you’ll need to handle is securing a license. Many areas require you to have a fishing license in order to fish. Some areas prohibit fishing altogether. Contact your local government or your state department of wildlife to get all the necessary information. Often, you can register with basic personal information and as little as $20.

Finding the Right Location

When you’re ready to fish, you’ll want to find the right location. Some people choose to fish from the banks of a nearby river. But it’s also common for people to head out to the middle of a body of water to fish further away from shore. If you’re an amateur who’s not picky about the types of fish they catch, simply choose an area close to you that seems popular with anglers.

As you get more experience, you’ll be able to choose locations based on a variety of factors. The types of fish you catch will depend on the depth of the water, the temperature of the water, the surrounding areas, and even the current weather conditions. Talk to anglers in your area to learn more about the hot spots around you – and get some tips for how to make the most of your fishing experience.

Freshwater Fishing Etiquette

It’s also important to know freshwater fishing etiquette.

  • Pay attention to rules and regulations. No matter where you are or how you plan to fish, it’s vital to know the rules and regulations of the specific area. Are you allowed to fish here? Do you have to throw the fish back? Is there a limit to how many fish you can catch?
  • Don’t invade someone else’s space. It may be a public space, but you still shouldn’t crowd other people. Maintain a respectful distance and find a different part of the water to have to yourself.
  • Don’t fish more than you can eat. Even if there’s no official limit to how many fish you can catch, don’t catch more than you can eat; doing so could limit the supply or compromise the sustainability of the ecosystem.
  • Keep quiet. Most people fish in part because they enjoy relaxing in nature, appreciating the quiet serenity. Don’t ruin that by blasting music or shouting.
  • Leave no trace. Abide by “leave no trace” principles. In other words, leave natural areas exactly how you found them; don’t take things or leave behind your trash.

Buying the Right Gear

You can’t fish without a fishing rod or similar gear. If you’re just starting out, your best option is likely going to be a spinning reel and rod combo; combination equipment includes both the reel and the rod sold together, minimizing the setup process. Choose something comfortable and affordable or talk to a salesperson for more personalized recommendations.

Once you have a rod and reel in hand, you’ll be ready to purchase your lures, bait, bobbers, and other pieces of equipment. The exact gear you’ll need will depend on the type of fish you’re interested in catching. For example, some fish are easier to catch with live bait, and some are attracted to specific types of lures.

Depending on where you’re fishing and how you’re fishing, you may also want to purchase a net (usually nylon or rubber), pliers (so you can remove lures and hooks from the fish you catch), and a tackle box to keep all your small items organized in a central location.

Basic Skills to Learn

Before going on your first fishing excursion, there are a few basic skills you’ll need to learn, such as:

  • Tying knots. Preparing your line, attaching your tackle, and repairing broken lines all require you to know how to tie the right knots. Most common knots are easy to learn and memorize, but it will take a bit of your time.
  • Casting. If you’re fishing from the edge of the water, you may need to cast your line to a deeper part of the water. Doing so is a bit like throwing a baseball, but it’s going to take some practice before you can do it consistently.
  • Hooking. When your bobber begins to move, it’s a sign a fish is nibbling at your bait. You’ll need to secure the fish by “setting” the hook, jerking your rod up quickly and firmly to prevent the fish from spitting the hook out. At this point, you may be able to reel the fish in – or you may need to spend some time tiring the fish out before you attempt to bring it closer.
  • Landing. When the fish is close to the water, you’ll need to bring it in – usually with the help of a net. If you’re going to throw the fish back, be sure to handle it gently and minimize the time it spends out of the water.

Practice Makes Perfect

Freshwater fishing is a hobby that’s easy to start, but requires a lot of learning, practice, and experience to master. Remain patient as you learn more about this activity and get more practice casting, hooking, and landing fish.

If you want to make the most of your freshwater fishing hobby, or if you’re interested in fishing in new places, a boat could be an incredible financial investment. TheYachtMarket has vessels of all shapes and sizes, available in the United States and Europe, and as both new and used vessels. Browse our selection of yachts and boats today!

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