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Fishing

Read on for more information about different kinds of fishing.

Fishing with a hook (as opposed to a net) is also known as angling. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Fishing with a hook (as opposed to a net) is also known as angling.

Fishing is a popular recreational sport. Just being outdoors and near the water is relaxing and enjoyable in itself, but catching fish for sport or for food is a hobby enjoyed by many. Fishing with a hook (as opposed to a net) is also known as angling.

Anglers preparing for a fishing trip will need to purchase a fishing license in the state in which they plan to fish. Fishing licenses are available for both residents and nonresidents.

Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater fishing occurs in rivers, ponds and other freshwater areas. Common species of fish sought by freshwater anglers include:

  • Bass (largemouth, rock, smallmouth, striped, whiterock and white)
  • Salmon
  • Trout (brook, brown, cutthroat, lake and rainbow)
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern pike
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Pacific salmon
  • Shad
  • Smelt
  • Suckers
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish

Choosing the right equipment for a freshwater fishing expedition is very important. The first piece of equipment a beginning angler will need is a rod and reel. Anglers should choose a rod that they can hold comfortably in one hand. Rods and reels can be purchased separately or as a combination package. It helps to know what kind of fish the angler will be seeking, since the fish's weight determines how strong the line should be. The best rods are usually made out of graphite or fiberglass.

Many types of hooks are available, making selection confusing for a new angler. Hooks are numbered, with a higher number indicating a smaller hook. Beginners should choose a single hook between #6 and #10. As they become more experienced, anglers can break the barb off the end of the hook to make it easier to remove from the fish.

Weights, also known as sinkers, propel the cast. They can be made of lead, tin or bismuth. Anglers usually prefer to use as little weight as possible, since too much weight can actually turn away fish and deaden the sensation to the angler if he or she gets a bite. The experts at Fishresource.com recommend the inexpensive and versatile split-shot weight for beginners.

Anglers will also need bait to attract fish. Earthworms are most popular, but other types of bait include mealworms, plastic worms, artificial fish bait and even regular food like bits of cheese, bread or hot dogs.

Other basic tools for fishing include:

  • Bobbers and floats keep the bait suspended. They also jerk to reveal a bite.
  • Snap swivels keep the line from twisting and allow for easy switching of hooks and lures.
  • Lures, resembling fish prey, are designed to attract the fish's attention.
  • Fishing accessories, such as tackle boxes, scissors, wire cutters and live bait containers, are also a must.

"Catch and release" fishing is a method of fishing that is growing in popularity. It is less damaging to the fish. After a fish is caught, the angler voluntarily returns it to the water, employing revival strategies if necessary. Catch and release fishing is preferred in these instances:

  • The angler is fishing for sport only.
  • The catch is beneath the legal minimum size.
  • The fish is too small to clean and eat.
  • The angler doesn't want to eat the fish.
  • The fish is healthy enough to survive and is not badly wounded.

A seasoned angler can find fish at any time of day. However, beginners should aim to go fishing when the fish are most active. For freshwater fish, these times include shortly after dawn and at dusk. Freshwater fish are least active around noon and in the early afternoon.

Fly Fishing

In fly fishing, the cast is propelled by the weight of the line alone, rather than with a weight, lure or bait. Fly fishing is tricky but rewarding, and is usually only attempted by anglers who have years of experience in freshwater fishing.

Anglers will need to purchase a fly rod, which is a rod made especially for fly fishing. The length and flexibility of a rod depend on the weight of the line, which is determined by the type of fish the angler will be seeking. For example, short fly rods with lightweight lines are best for sunfish, while bass will require a heavier line and a longer, less flexible rod. Beginner fly fishing anglers should choose a rod between 8 and 9 feet long that's designed for a 4-5 weight line.

In warmer climates such as Florida, winter is the best season for fly fishing. The best locations in the world for fly fishing, according to MSNBC, include:

  • Andros Barrier Reef in the Bahamas
  • Ponoi River in Russia's Kola Peninsula
  • King Pacific Lodge in British Columbia, Canada
  • Little Snake River in Wyoming

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep-sea fishing is done in large bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans. It usually occurs off coastlines in the pursuit of big game fish, such as tuna, salmon, halibut and swordfish. Because of the heightened risks associated with weather and larger game, deep-sea fishing requires a proper boat.

Rods purchased for deep-sea fishing should be longer and have the ability to handle heavy weights. Other optional equipment for deep-sea fishing includes more high-tech gadgets such as:

  • Fish finders
  • Depth sounders
  • Radio communication equipment
  • Depth gauges
  • GPS systems

The best time to go deep-sea fishing is right around the full moon. Those new to deep-sea fishing may wish to take a guided excursion in order to properly learn the ropes. For example, Destin Angler in Florida offers deep-sea fishing excursions that can last anywhere from four hours to five days.

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