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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Learn to Fish

Fishing Basics

Fishing can be a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor activity. Here’s a basic guide on how to fish.

  1. Get the right equipment:
    • Fishing rod and reel: Choose a fishing rod suitable for your intended type of fishing. There are different rods for freshwater and saltwater fishing, as well as various fishing techniques.
    • Fishing line: Select an appropriate fishing line based on the type of fish you want to catch. Heavier lines are used for larger fish.
    • Hooks, sinkers, and bobbers: These are essential accessories. Hooks are available in various sizes, and sinkers help your bait sink to the desired depth. Bobbers float on the water’s surface and signal when a fish bites.
  2. Learn the fishing regulations: Familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations in your area. Check if you need a fishing license and if there are any restrictions on fishing locations, seasons, or catch limits.
  3. Choose a fishing spot: Look for a suitable fishing spot, such as a lake, river, or pier. Research local fishing reports or talk to experienced anglers to find popular fishing locations and the types of fish that can be caught there.
  4. Gather bait or lures: Depending on your fishing method, you’ll need either live bait or artificial lures. Live bait options include worms, minnows, or insects. Lures mimic the movement of prey fish and can be made of plastic, metal, or wood. Select bait or lures that are attractive to the fish you want to catch.
  5. Cast your line:
    • Attach your hook, sinker, and bait or lure according to the instructions.
    • Stand facing the water, hold the fishing rod firmly, and release enough line to allow for casting.
    • Use a smooth motion to cast your line. Aim for an area where you suspect fish might be.
    • Once your line is in the water, engage the reel’s bail or spool to keep the line from coming out.
  6. Practice patience: Fishing requires patience and observation. Keep an eye on your fishing line and wait for a fish to bite. Pay attention to any movement or tension on the line, which could indicate a bite.
  7. Hook and reel in the fish.
  8. Enjoy the experience of being in nature and the thrill of landing a catch.