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Fishing Is Fun for Everyone

It’s Easy to Learn How

Getting Started

Fishing is fun— just ask any of the 50 million children and adults in America who now enjoy the sport! Better yet, try it yourself— you can quickly learn to fish at any age. Fishing is not just about fish— during a fishing trip, families and friends relax together as they enjoy being outdoors and learning new skills.

Here’s what you’ll need to fish in freshwater:

Fish out of water

An inexpensive fishing rod and reel

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4- to 8- pound- test monofilament fishing line

Fish out of water

A package of fishing weights

Fish out of water

Fish hooks (Number 6– 10 size)

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A plastic or wood bobber

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A selection of live bait or fishing lures

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A casting plug

Fish out of water

A state fishing license (depending on your age)


You’ll find everything you need at a fishing tackle or sporting goods store. Many discount or hardware stores also sell fishing tackle. If you want to fish in saltwater, ask for help in selecting the right equipment.

While you’re in the store, ask about a fishing license. Depending on your age and your state, you may need one to fish legally. Also pick up a copy of your state’s fishing laws (or regulations), which will tell you the types of fish, the minimum size limit, and the number of fish you can catch in one day.

Then, choose a fishing rod that you can hold comfortably in one hand. There are many inexpensive combination packages available that include a rod, reel, and fishing line. Tie a hook to the end of the line with a fishing knot. Instructions for the Palomar or the Improved Clinch knot are in this pamphlet.

Table of Contents

Getting Started

What kind of tackle can I use?

Learning to tie knots


Hook, Line, & Sinker

Safety First


Catch and Release

Go Fish!

Where to Fish


Source: U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Original text by Bob Schmidt
1999 revision by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service







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