Fishing is a great pastime that gets you outside to enjoy nature. It can also be an excellent way to learn a new skill and relax on your vacation. However, if you are a novice at this sport, then you must use certain techniques to make it a safer hobby. Here are some tips to make fishing safe for you whether fishing in the lake, while camping, or on the open sea.
Get a Fishing License
Did you know that most regions require a fishing license? If you don’t have a permit for fishing, then you could receive a fine or go to jail. Each city or state has a different requirement for a fishing license, and there are often different types. Residents of a region typically pay a lower rate than nonresidents, and senior citizens may receive a discount on a fishing license. You can often apply for a short-term fishing license when you are visiting a different location. Before anything else, make sure you have the right license so you are able to fish legally. Learn what areas are “off limits” for fishing. Certain areas may be forbidden to protect wildlife, vegetation, or even people like you.
Learn From Others
There are likely hundreds of individuals in your region who love to fish for fun, so you should look for a group that enjoys this hobby. This group will probably have get-togethers where you can meet the members, and you can find someone to have as a new fishing buddy. By practicing with someone who knows what they’re doing, you’ll be able to increase your own skills rapidly to the point where you can enjoy fishing on your own. If you are planning on fishing in the open sea or unfamiliar waters for a one-time excursion, you can find fishing charters with knowledgeable guides. These experts know the best places to go fishing for local fish, and they are able to give you advice during the trip. You won’t need to research the local regulations or find a boat and equipment for fishing because the guides will provide all of these items and information. This can be an excellent way to ‘get your feet wet’, so to say.
Compared to outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, or rock climbing, waiting for fish to bite for hours can seem relatively harmless. However, the seclusion and terrain necessary for this sport inherently has risk. You should always wear a life jacket when you are fishing from a boat, but you should also know how to swim. When you fish along the shores of a river or a lake, you could fall into the water accidentally. Be careful when trying to retrieve your fishing equipment from the water. Besides your life vest, you should also have safety equipment such as drinking water, flashlights, maps, and a cell phone or radio in case you get lost. One of the biggest things you can do to remain safe is to take it upon yourself to inspect the waterfronts daily—they can change suddenly, and slight changes can create riptides, rapids, unstable banks, and other dangers. In the end, no amount of equipment can take the place of purposeful investigation and awareness of your surroundings. In the wilderness, you have to be prepared for anything, and put trust in yourself, not your equipment.
Protect Your Body
In addition, to your safety gear make sure you are protected from the elements in what you put on: wear the proper footgear, a raincoat or warm coat if necessary, and put on waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. The best clothes to wear while fishing are multiple thin layers that progress outwards to include water and wind protection. Have bug spray and netting to protect yourself if you are in areas with lots of mosquitos—they congregate near water.
Understand Fishing Equipment
If you have never fished before, then take the time to learn about proper handling and equipment. Your knives should be kept clean and sharp—never leave them to be cleaned later, and cover their blades when not in use. Also be careful when removing hooks, and learn some basic first aid in case of injuries. The rod you will need depends on the fishing you intend to do. Most rods are classified by their strength, responsiveness, bending capability, and taper. For beginners, it’s good to use a medium-strength rod with decent responsiveness so you can catch different varieties and feel when they are biting. Spinning reels are among the most versatile and can be used when fishing from the shore, pier, or a boat. As far as fishing line goes, always remember to bring extra in case yours gets tangled. Bring a variety of strings or cords with different strengths and weights. If the water and wind are rougher, you’ll need a heavier and stronger line, while clear, still water need thin, clear lines (so the fish cannot see them.) Always have more than 100 yards of line on your reel. Live bait is generally better than other kinds, but different baits will attract different fish, so do your research based on the fish in your area. Talk to a local bait shop for specific information on lures and bait for the fish in your area.
While learning how to fish, make sure to have fun without worrying about how successful you are, and also, make new friends during the process. Fishing can be relaxing or boring depending on how you approach it. Be prepared for long hours of simply existing in nature, waiting for fish to bite—and enjoy it! Relish the chance to simply sit back in the middle of a world larger than yourself and see the disconnection from the business of daily life as a boon. Fishing takes a lot of patience, but if you see the time spent on it as a break, not a waste, you will enjoy it more. And of course, look up some tasty recipes for when you bring your catch home.