Beginner's Guide on How to Catch Fish

Posted by Printed Kicks Team on

Beginner's Guide on How to Catch Fish

Fishing may seem intimidating for most first-timers, but in reality, with proper education and practice, it is a fairly simple sport. You’ll need a few things to get started, though. You’re going to need a fishing license, some equipment, and most importantly, a good spot where you can fish. 

Fishing is a sport that has grown in popularity considerably recently—so much so that here at Printed Kicks we have even begun making fishing-related clothing and accessories. To get started, it is worthwhile to know what the different types of fishing are. As a fisher, you can go fly-fishing, saltwater fishing, or even ice fishing. However, for the purpose of this article, we are mainly going to be covering spin fishing, the most basic version of fishing. 

Spin fishing is when a fisher uses a rod with a spinning reel and lures or live bait to catch fish. For beginners, spin fishing is the most affordable way to get started, as well as the easiest. Even without any experience, you should be able to get a firm grasp of how to function a spinning reel within your first day of learning. Once you get past that step, you are on your way to making your first catch. Before you jump in, check out our full guide that teaches beginners exactly how to catch a fish: 

Buying a License

Before you head to your first spot, you’re going to have to obtain an up-to-date fishing license for the state you’re in. A fishing license is required to fish legally. Licenses can be found online and also at fishing shops. Occasionally, you can find them in convenience stores as well. 

A license just for the day is typically pretty cheap (around $20), but the price will vary depending on where you’re located. Generally, annual licenses are a better deal overall, usually ranging between $30 and $150. Keep in mind that fishing licenses cost more for non-residents of the state. If you’ve never fished before, it might be wise to just stick to a day license for now. 

Gearing Up

A standard spinning reel and rod is a common combination for many beginners. Usually, the reel and rod are sold together, so you don’t need to worry about assembling it. You can find a quality reel and rod at most fishing shops, as well as at some sporting goods stores. 

After you select your reel and rod, you’re going to want to find some lures or live bait. Lures are decoys used to draw a fish’s attention and get them to bite. Live bait is essentially the same thing, except you’re using real worms. Some fishers believe that lures are more effective, while others believe live bait is more effective. Conduct some research and decide which one you would prefer. It might be easier for you to start out using lures as a beginner, so you don’t have to hook your live bait. 

Lastly, you’re going to need some bobbers. Bobbers are small, white, plastic balls that float on the surface of the water and bob when something bites your lure. They are used to predict when you have a fish on your hook. Without a bobber, you have little to no indication of when your lure is being hit. 

There are also a few items that are optional but will definitely be useful when you’re fishing. First, you might want a net to be able to secure the fish when you reel one in. Next, you might want some thin pliers to take lures from the inside of the fish’s mouth. A tackle box to hold all of your lures and bait is also ideal. 

One thing that you should also consider bringing is a hat or cap to wear while you fish. Spending hours in front of the harsh sunlight can be damaging to your skin and make your overall fishing experience irritating. Check out our Catfish Fishing Trucker Hat, a mesh and twill snapback hat displaying a catfish cartoon on its front. It’s durable, breathable, and comfortable±perfect for a day by the water. 

If you’re truly a lover of fishing, you might also be inclined to check out our Pink Fishing Premium Mesh Sneakers, which feature a fish splashing out of the water on a solid black base. They are available in white and black variations and come in sizes 5 to 14 for men and 5 to 12 for women. They’re perfect to wear on your next fishing trip!

You may find yourself wanting to upgrade your equipment as you move along your fishing journey, and you will likely have to do some maintenance from time to time on your setup. But for now, this is more than sufficient to get started fishing.

Research Spots

It’s always a good idea to speak to experienced locals about where they go fishing, since they probably know your area the best. Search online for fishing resources around you and see if you can find any communities of local fishers. Quite often, you can find groups of fishers in your area on social media sites. 

Overall, lakes are a solid choice when you’re a beginner. Lakes typically have a bank or dock to fish from and home more hungry fish than rivers. Lake fish mostly include species like bass, panfish, and rainbow trout, while river fish are limited almost exclusively to salmon or trout species like rainbow, cutthroat, brown trout, and others. Do your research and decide what spot would fit your situation the best. 

Casting Your Reel

Casting your reel is as simple as it looks. Just set up your line, wind back, and toss your lure out as far as possible. At first, you may struggle to get distance on your cast. However, after a few attempts, you should be able to improve your level of control. 

To set up your line, measure about six inches out the end of the rod, with the reel beneath your strong hand. A spinning reel uses a thin wire arm called a bail to prevent your line from slipping out of the spool. To cast your reel, you need to flip this bail, hold the line down with your finger, lift the rod tip up, then throw the lure. 

The optimal time to release your line is when the rod is perfectly vertical or just barely forward from being vertical. Once you’ve successfully cast your reel, flip the bail back over to its original side.

Hooking The Fish

When you see your bobber move, that means a fish is likely on your hook. To prevent it from escaping, you need to jerk your rod upward in order to secure the hook into the fish’s mouth. Once you have your hook secured, keep your rod up and wait a minute before reeling. You have to allow the fish to tire itself out before reeling it in; otherwise, it’ll probably be able to get away.

Securing the Catch

You have hooked your fish, and you have tired it out. It’s time to secure the catch. Using a net will be extremely advantageous in this scenario, but it is not necessary. Once you reel the fish within about six feet of you, jerk upwards while reeling and continue to lift your rod until the fish is on land. If you have a net, simply scoop the fish up as soon as it is within arm’s length of you. 

To further minimize harm after landing a fish, do not squeeze its stomach or touch its gills when handling, and avoid keeping the fish out of water for any longer than a few minutes to minimize harm. Also, try not to squeeze its stomach or gills when you are handling it, if you’re planning to throw it back. 

Now, it’s time to kick back and take some celebration photos of you holding your catch. Making your first catch is an exhilarating feeling and should be remembered as such. Hopefully, after your first one, you’ll develop a newfound appreciation for the agelong craft. As said best by our Take Me Fishing t-shirt, “Call me beautiful and take me fishing!” 


Fishing is not as complex as it may seem. With the right knowledge and a little bit of practice, you’ll be on your way to make your first catch in no time. Before you get going, consider bringing some stylish fishing wear to your next session with Printed Kicks’ fishing t-shirts and hats.

Fishing is a timeless sport that has existed since the inception of man. It’s never too late to get into it. If you’re interested in fishing but are apprehensive about getting started, we encourage you to take the leap of faith and try it out. It truly is a beautiful activity and is made even better with your loved ones around you. Good luck and happy fishing! 



Saltwater Fishing Basics & Info | Take Me Fishing

What is Fly Fishing? | Blue Ridge Mountain Life

Buying a fishing license | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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