Learning how to cast is one of the steps of mastering how to fish. However, casting is a technique that requires practice and involves several factors. For instance, you must learn how to make fishing knots, which includes passing a line through the eye of a hook and wrapping excess line in the form of a loop. Also, you must attach a bait to your hook in order to lure in fish. In addition, you must set your drag to 25 percent of the weight of your line.

Furthermore, there are various types of fishing knots, hooks and baits to choose from, all of which serve different purposes and work in different situations. Many items even provide an edge to beginner fishermen. Live bait, for example, is especially helpful for new fishers as it moves on its own to attract fish. To get simple tips on how to fish, including steps for performing all of the main fishing tricks, read the sections below. Here at Fishing.com, we have everything you need to learn each step at your own pace.

How do you cast?

If you are learning how to cast as a beginner, you must first master the overhead cast. Consider the following steps to cast your rod successfully:

  1. Hold the rod with your dominant hand and check that your surroundings are empty.
  2. Press the release button on top of your reel to allow line to come off the spool.
  3. Begin the backstroke motion by bringing your rod overhead.
  4. Then, immediately begin the forward stroke by bringing your rod forward and in the direction of your target.
  5. Finally, let the lure or bait splash down the water, which is a signal that you have successfully cast your line.

In addition, depending on the size of fish you are trying to catch, you must choose a specific reel. For instance, you should learn how to cast your spinning rod reel if the fish you are going to catch requires smaller bait or a smaller lure. Conversely, if you are fishing with a heavier lure, you should learn to cast with bait-caster reels.

How do you set drag?

The fishing reel drag mechanism is the system that creates resistance on a reel. The easiest way to learn how to set a drag is to adjust it according to the weight of your line. In general, a drag must be set at 25 percent of the weight of a line. However, a drag setting can vary depending on the weight of each line. Thus, consider the following tips to set your drag correctly:

  • Set your drag to 20 percent when using lines that weigh up to 20 pounds.
  • Set your drag to 25 percent when using lines that weigh between 30 and 50 pounds.
  • Set your drag to 30 percent when using lines that weigh between 80 and 130 pounds.

You should set your drag before your first cast of the day, as fishing reels are not meant to be adjusted while you fish, and doing so may damage your rod or reel. If you are uncertain about how to set your drag, make sure to set it looser rather than tighter. If your drag is too tight, it will put more tension on the line and cause it to break.

How do you choose bait?

Deciding how to choose a fishing bait depends on your level of expertise and what fish you are trying to catch. For instance, a live bait must be securely attached to a hook, such as a circle hook or octopus hook. On the other hand, choosing the right fishing lures requires you to tailor the color, shape and size of the artificial lure to the fish you intend to catch. Given the additional considerations of artificial lures and the high effectiveness of live baits (due to their constant movement), beginner fishermen typically prefer using the latter. When you are not sure which to use, consider the following factors in the below simple fishing bait guide:

  • What bait color to use – Baits of bright colors are more effective in murky waters, whereas baits of muted colors are more suitable for clear waters.
  • What bait size to use – A small bait can easily fall off an extra wide gap hook. Conversely, a bait can also be too big for a small circular hook.
  • What fish you want to catch ­– A catfish is typically very attracted to smells that come from a live bait. However, a trout is often more attracted by a lure that has bright colors.

For more information on how to choose fishing bait, you can explore all of the different aspects of bait in our fishing guide, available here.

How do you attach bait?

When learning how to attach bait properly, you must place it in a way that guarantees that the fish will be hooked once it bites, and an important part of that is making sure that the bait does not fall off. To bait a fishing hook securely, the bait must be of an appropriate size in relation to your hook. Additionally, when using worms as live bait, a good tip is to hook them length-wise and thread most of their body through your hook. Conversely, attaching bait that is artificial is typically much easier, because most lures already come with an attached hook. Thus, you do not have to worry about artificial bait slipping off the hook.

How do you tie fishing knots?

Tying fishing knots typically involves using a rope to form loops, then passing the end of a rope through the loops. However, varying knots are best suited for different lines and types of hooks. To learn how to make fishing knots and explore the five best knots for beginners, view our infographic below.

Palomar Knot

The Palomar knot is one of the strongest fishing knots used to attach hooks to a line, thus being optimal for catching large or heavy fish. This knot is easy to tie and can be used on multiple types of line, but is best suited for a braided fishing line.

  1. Double around four to six inches of line and thread it through the eye of your hook.
  2. Let the hook dangle and tie an overhand knot, which involves forming a loop and passing one end of the rope through the loop, in the double line you just formed.
  3. Be sure not to twist the line as you do this and tie the knot loosely to allow enough space for the hook to pass through.
  4. Pull the end of the loop down and pass it over the entire hook or lure.
  5. Wet the line before tightening the knot by pulling on the opposite ends of the line.
  6. Cut the excess line, if necessary.

Surgeon’s Knot

One of the most useful types of fishing knots is the surgeon’s knot, which ties together two lines of similar diameters. In comparison to other knots, the surgeon’s knot is less likely to damage the thinner of the two joint lines. This knot is commonly used to ensure that the line will not be broken from the hook, and is best suited for catching large fish.

  1. Place your main line and your leader line, which is a line extension, parallel to one another with about six inches of overlap.
  2. Tie the two lines together loosely with an overhand knot and pull the entire leader line through the loop.
  3. Without fully closing the loop, make a second overhand knot by looping the leader line through the opening once again.
  4. Wet the line and then pull the knot tight, cutting the excess line afterward.

Uni-Knot (Hangman’s Knot)

One of the most versatile fishing knots is the uni-knot, also known as the hangman’s knot. This is considered one of the strongest fishing knots, and it is well-suited for catching large fish. Additionally, the uni-knot is most effective when paired with a monofilament line and terminal tackle, but it can also be used with other lines and tackle.

  1. Run about six inches of your line through the eye of your hook.
  2. Double the line back forming a circle.
  3. Wrap the tag end of the line, which is the end that is used to tie a fishing knot, around the doubled part of the line five to six times.
  4. Pull the tag end through the open loop.
  5. Moisten and pull tight to form the knot.
  6. Pull the main line and slide the knot down to the eye of the hook to secure it.

Improved Clinch Knot

If you are wondering what knot to use for lures, consider using the improved clinch knot. The improved clinch knot is a beginner fishing knot that is used to secure lures, artificial flies and clips to a fishing line. Additionally, it is one of the strongest fishing knots and is often used to secure medium to heavy fishing lines to tackle. Thus, this knot is great for catching larger and stronger fish because it is less likely to break under pressure.

  1. Pass six or more inches of line through the eye of your hook or lure.
  2. Double back and wrap the end around the standing line about five times, leaving a small space between the first loop and your hook or lure.
  3. Thread the excess line through the small opening you left above the eye of your hook or lure.
  4. Then take the same tail end and thread it through the larger loop you just made.
  5. Pull on both the standing line and the tag end away from the hook slowly, making sure that the coils you made do not overlap each other.
  6. Wet your line once the coils are tightened.
  7. Pull the standing line until your knot is securely against the top of your hook or lure.

Snell Knot

Snell knots are intermediate level fishing knots used to strengthen lines and improve fishing catch rates, especially for larger fish. By definition, Snelling means to tie a knot away from the eye of your hook, which allows for a stronger hold between your line and baited hook. Thus, this is considered a versatile fishing knot that works well for catching large fish. However, keep in mind that you must have a leader line in order to properly tie a Snell knot.

  1. Hold your hook facing up and pass the end of the line through the eye of the hook twice, creating a loop that runs alongside the back of the hook and has one side parallel to the hook shank.
  2. Wrap the excess line that forms the loop around the hook shank 5 to 10 times depending on the size of the hook you are using.
  3. On the final loop, pass the end of the line through the looped leader line so that it points toward the barb of the hook.
  4. Hold the end of the line facing the barb and leader line above the eye of the hook and slowly pull them in opposite directions to tighten the coils.
  5. Slide the knot upwards until it is flush against the eye of the hook.
  6. Use pliers to pull the end of the line and fully tighten the knot, then trim the excess.

How do you set hook?

To set a fishing hook, you must reel in any excess slack on your line to create tension between your line and your bait. That way, the tension created will make your line more sensitive and will help you tell the difference between a significant tug and a light one. Additionally, setting the hook on fish requires you to point your rod in the direction of the targeted fish. Then, to hook a fish after it bites, you must crank the reel to penetrate the hook deep into the fish’s mouth.

How do you remove the hook from the fish?

Some of the most significant tools to remove the hook from a fish include pliers and dehookers. In general, the best way to unhook a fish is to keep it in the water while you remove the hook. First, you want to hold the fish horizontally and grab the hook at its bending point. Then, push the hook down in order to loosen it. Lastly, as the hook becomes loose, you can easily remove it from a fish’s mouth. However, removing a hook varies in difficulty according to the type of hook that you are using.

Treble hooks, as another example, can be difficult to remove safely if you are aiming to catch and release a fish. These hooks can puncture the fish in multiple places and cause extensive injuries to its gills, organs and throat. Conversely, jig hooks and circle hooks are the best to use for catch and release practices, as they are among the easiest to remove.

How do you reel in a fish?

Learning how to reel in a fish is crucial for beginners. Fishing reeling techniques generally follow these simple steps:

  1. First, make sure to hold your rod at a 45-degree angle as the fish you are trying to catch takes line off your reel and struggles to break free.
  2. Then, lift your rod to a 90-degree angle once the fish has calmed down, and begin reeling the fish in.
  3. Slowly lower your rod back down to a 45-degree angle as you are reeling in your catch.

Tips for reeling in big fish, specifically, include bending your rod more than you would when reeling in small fish. Additionally, big fish may take more line in comparison to small fish, so they should be reeled in more slowly.

How do you land a fish?

Landing a fish is an essential part of being a successful angler. However, learning how to land a fish requires patience and the knowledge of what steps to follow. First, reel in a fish as close as your line allows, and wait for the fish to get tired before landing it. You can typically tell that a fish is tired when it floats closer to the surface and turns over on its side. As it stops struggling, you can land your fish by using a net or your hands.

Landing a fish without a net is only recommended in the case of retrieving smaller fish. In that case, you can pull at the end of your line and pluck the fish out of the water, then cup the fish’s belly in your palm and extract the hook from its mouth. However, in order to properly land a large fish, you must first enclose it in a net. Additionally, when landing a catch with a net and intending to release it back to the water, it is best to use a rubber net, as its material will not remove the fish’s protective layer of mucus.

How do you release a fish?

If you are wondering how to release a fish after catching it, you must be conscious of how sensitive fish can be. In general, you can catch and release fish by following these steps:

  • Do not touch the fish with your dry hands.
  • Remove the hook from the end that is attached to your line.
  • Keep your fingers away from the gills and eyes of the fish.
  • Avoid keeping the fish out of the water for too long, and release it as soon as possible.
  • If necessary, place the fish inside the water to resuscitate it before release.

Recompression tools and dehookers are tools that can help you release a fish after catching it. These can minimize the handling of the fish and help them recover from the experience quickly. Additionally, make sure to use rubber nets during your retrieval of a fish if you intend to release it after. Conversely, rope and cloth nets can remove a fish’s protective mucus layer and make it vulnerable to infection.

How do you store a fish?

To store fish after you catch them, you need to prepare and preserve them properly. The process of how to store a fish correctly requires you to keep it alive until you are ready to clean, chill or fillet it for storage. If the fish dies beforehand, it is best to keep it iced or chilled inside a cooler. Because accumulated water from melted ice can spoil fish quickly, you should ensure that the water is regularly drained out of the cooler. Then, you can proceed to store fresh fish at home by following these easy steps:

  1. Wash the fish under cold water.
  2. Pat it dry with a clean paper towel.
  3. Wrap the fish in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  4. Store the fish in the freezer or refrigerator for a few days before eating it.

How do you choose a fishing destination?

Reviewing tips for choosing your fishing destination will help you to decide which locale provides the optimal experience. In order to choose a fishing destination, you must first evaluate the following factors:

  • The type of fish you intend to catch – For instance, a black grouper can typically be found in South Florida, whereas tuna can be caught more often in Massachusetts.
  • The type of fishing you want to do – The right place to fish with your hands is from the shore or riverbank, whereas spearfishing techniques are typically executed in open oceans.
  • The purpose of your trip – For instance, traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada can provide you with not only an abundant population of largemouth bass on Lake Mead, but also with gambling opportunities in the city.
  • The fishing regulations you must abide by – While California is the perfect destination for fishing in many ways, it is also one of the U.S. states with the strictest fishing regulations.
  • The season of the year – For instance, Montauk, New York recovers quickly from cool winter temperatures and is thus an optimal location for spring fishing. However, the Green River in Utah may be better suited for fishing in the fall.

What are the proper shoes to wear when you fish?

Acquiring shoes for fishing is an important step to guarantee your safety, especially if you are fishing on from a boat. Thus, fishing footwear is designed to prevent you from falling while walking on slippery surfaces. Additionally, waterproof fishing shoes are better than traditional shoes, because they are not ruined by having contact with water.

Men’s fishing shoes, as well as those for women and children, are available in several sizes and colors that suit different tastes. You can find the top fishing shoes, which help to keep you safe on slippery surfaces, by clicking here.

How do you choose a spot to fish in?

Finding good fishing spots is an essential part of having a good fishing experience. However, figuring out how to pick a good spot to fish in can be difficult. When it comes to determining what makes a good fishing spot, take the following factors into consideration:

  • The fish you intend to catch – Bluegill fish are most commonly found in still bodies of water, such as lakes. Conversely, a rainbow trout is typically found in streams, which have a strong water current.
  • The length of your fishing experience – Finding good fishing spots in an open ocean typically takes up more time, as you will require a boat to navigate the ocean. Conversely, fishing from the shore or riverbank is as quick as setting up your tackle.
  • The fishing technique you will use – Hand-gathering techniques are generally more effective if you are on a riverbank. On the other hand, trawl net fishing is a method that can only be done in open oceans.

How do you choose what gear to wear to fish?

It is imperative for you to understand the importance of choosing the right gear, as this will help you become a better angler. Additionally, it can help you avoid spending money on gear that is not suited for what you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to catch a bottom-dwelling amberjack, your fishing gear can include a monofilament line, which allows for long-distance fishing, and a heavy reel, which can carry a significant length of line. Choosing the right fishing gear can also be affected by your ability to swim or dive. As an example, spearfishing techniques require not only spearguns, but can also include scubas or snorkels.

What should I bring when I go fish?

Carefully assembling your fishing equipment prior to heading out to fish can ensure that you have all of the necessary supplies. Because essential fishing supplies go beyond simply gear, consider the following fishing trip checklist before you leave for your next trip:

  • Water – It is important to stay hydrated at all times while fishing, regardless of the season of the year.
  • Food – Deciding what to pack for a fishing trip can also include snacks or food if you intend to stay out for more than a few hours.
  • Bait and lures – Make sure to bring a significant amount of lures or live baits, according to your preference.
  • Chair – Unless you are fishing with spears or with your hands, you are likely to benefit from having a chair to sit down in while fishing.
  • Cooler – If you plan to take fish home with you, you must bring a cooler filled with ice, which will assist you in preserving fish while transporting them.
  • Bucket – You can keep fish alive in a bucket of water until you can properly clean and prepare them. Additionally, buckets are useful tools to transport live bait.
  • Tackle box – Having a tackle box is essential in fishing, as it holds all of your important fishing tools. Your tackle box should contain a pair of pliers to help you remove hooks and tighten knots, as well as your assortment of lures.
  • Fishing vest – If you are going to wade in the water and your tackle box is not within reach, you can benefit from carrying all of your essential fishing supplies in a fishing vest.
  • Landing net – You will need to use a net in order to land large fish. Additionally, rubber nets can assist you during a catch and release process, as they help you in keeping a fish alive after being caught.
  • Fish finder – A fish finder can be particularly useful if you are unfamiliar with a location, as it can help you find fishing spots across different areas.

What fishing steps are safe for children to do?

There are a few fishing safety rules for kids that you should keep in mind when fishing with your family. Review the below list of safety tips for fishing with kids before your next trip:

  1. Do not let children attach a hook on their own. Hooks are pointy and often sharp tools and are thus considered safety hazards to children.
  2. Do not let children cast unsupervised. While performing an overhead cast, a hook hangs in the air and can possibly cut a child who is executing the backstroke and forward stroke motions.
  3. Do not let children remove a hook from a fish. Fish scales can be sharp to the touch. A child can be hurt during the handling process or while the hook is being removed.
  4. Have children wear life jackets when fishing from a boat. When it comes to fishing safety for kids, wearing life jackets is a crucial consideration. Life jackets can assist children to float to a surface in case they fall inside the water.