Learning to fish

At the risk of embarrassment & shame, I’m going to admit this in front of all of you who have awesome outdoor skills: I don’t know how to fish.

But I want to learn.

Now that I have my confession in the open, let me ask my questions. 🙂

– There are a zillion “how to fish” videos on YouTube. Can anybody help me pair it down & recommend some of the better videos, as well as any other sources? (Unfortunately, I don’t have any local friends who can teach me.)
– What is a good, basic set of fishing equipment (rod, reel, tackle, etc.) for inland, freshwater fishing? It seems like half of the local sporting goods store is dedicated to fishing equipment, and I’m sure most of it is stuff I don’t need.

Thanks in advance.



  • Comments (14)

    • 3

      Hello Watermelon Samurai! I would love to help you.

      Fishing is simple. Get a rod, get an idea what fish species you are going after, use a bait, either natural or synthetic and present it so you don’t scare the fish. Let me get on YouTube and find a video for you. Where in the United Sates do you live? That will give me an idea about the game species, water characteristics in which you will be fishing.

      Do you want a general fishing setup, or something compact for survival.

      Cheers! Here to help indefinitely.

      • 4


        Thanks! My goal in learning to fish is twofold:

        • It would be a great excuse to get outside, get some fresh air and be “socially distant” during these times when it’s probably wise to avoid crowds, especially indoor crowds.
        • I think it would be a useful survival skill.

        I live in Florida, but not on the coast. So I would be fishing from the banks of freshwater rivers or lakes. (I don’t own a boat.) I’m not interested in fishing just for sport. I’d rather eat what I catch.

        Equipment-wise, I’m looking for a general setup that will let me catch something edible (other than gators), and simple enough that I can quickly pack it in the truck in the event of an evacuation.

        I appreciate your guidance!


      • 3

        Excellent! Let me find some YouTube videos on fishing. I am going to find videos that pertain to both spin style fishing and fly fishing. Hope this finds you well!

      • 3

        Hello Samurai!

        This is a good video on the gear used for fishing. Let me know when you have watched it, and if  you have any questions. Note the difference between spin rods and fly fishing rods. Both are awesome styles. Spin rods are a tad easier to use for a beginner.

      • 5


        Thank you for the research and finding that video. I watched it: good information, horrible acting. 🙂 I’m going to start with spinning rods.

        I’ve also been to the library and borrowed a book on what species of fish are in my neck of the woods, along with recommendations on what bait to use. (That’s very helpful, because one of my elementary questions was going to be how to choose a lure/bait.)

        Questions after watching and reading:
        – For a given kind of reel (closed, open, bait casting), does fishing line come on a standard spool size that fits all reels of that type? Or is there something specific you need to know about your reel when you go to buy line?
        – Does a spool of fishing line come in various lengths, or one-length-fits-all?
        – Is there a particular kind of knot used to tie the hook to the line?
        – In the video, the Cabela’s guy shows a lure which was designed to mimic motion of a fish. Am I correct that you have to continually reel in the line in order to make the lure perform?
        – Are bobbers used only with bait that just hangs on the hook? Do you ever use bobbers with lures that need to move?
        – In the library book, it specifically recommends a “stiff” rod for certain species of fish, and occasionally a specific rod length as well. So when shopping for a rod, do you have to choose a stiffness? And how do you decide what length you need?
        – Also in the book, I see terms like “boat tackle”, “medium tackle” and “light spinning tackle”? What does this mean?
        – What is a “leader” on the end of the line, and when is it used?
        – I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but there’s a whole set of vocabulary in lures that I don’t understand: plugs, jigs, spinners, spoons, popping bugs, diving bait, surface lures…

        Ready for the next lesson. 🙂

        – WS

      • 4

        The acting was pretty bad!

        I would read through this entire website.  http://learninghowtofish.com/

        Here is a video on gear ratios.

        This guy has a legit Youtube. Check out his videos.

        Let me know when you have more questions! Hope this finds you well.

      • 3

        Awesome – thank you! I’ll get to work on all that.

        – WS

    • 3

      Welcome to a new hobby that can easily be converted into a wonderful survival resource but is a lot of fun even if you never have to do it to survive. I’m going to try and offer you a slightly different line of advice.

      As far as a rod and reel I recommend a Zebco 33 on a 6′ Medium action rod. You can buy a complete set up for under 40 dollars. This is a good starting set up that will catch a lot of fish easily with a very short learning curve. I have hundreds of reels and collect ambassador reels. I have about 50 spinning reels. All that said I still carry a Zebco 33 in my truck and fish with it often and use it almost exclusively for live bait fishing for crappie and smaller bass. I have caught catfish that were over 10 pounds with those little reels so it isn’t like you can’t handle a pretty good size fish with one. You might pick up a few 1/8 oz grub heads and a few colors of grubs to put on them. I like grubs that have three colors. Two on the body and a red or chartreuse tail. You want the fish to see it above anything else.

      If you don’t want to invest much money and want to catch a lot of fish get a cane pole. put some good line on it, Use a bobber with split shot and a small hook. For bait you can dig up some worms or buy a few fresh shrimp at a store. Pinch off little bits of the shrimp or little worms and just set it around anything that is sticking in the water. when the bobber goes under pull your fish out by lifting the pole straight up.

      In a survival situation, remember to first hunt or fish at the BOTTOM of the food chain. There are a LOT more small fish than large fish in any body of water and when you are fishing for food start small. Once you have enough small fish to make a good meal out of you can go for bigger prey.

       There is a thing called a Cuban Yo-yo. It is basically just a spool that you wrap line on and can cast by pointing it at the deepwater and throwing the weight and bait by spinning it with the other hand and letting it fly. They come in sizes  4″, 6″, 9″. I like the smaller sizes because they are easier to carry but the bigger ones make winding in the line faster. You can also make them. I’ve made several.  Put a heavy line on these and use either one of the smaller fish you caught or the innards and heads from the bigger ones. This is your big fish rig. You want to use a thicker heavy line so that it won’t cut you if you hang a big one and have to bight it hard. Catfish are not at all worried by heavy line and that is what I mostly use these for.


      If you start with bait and bobbers you will have better immediate success. Once you have some success with that then you can get a few simple lures and use those. Once you are a lot more experienced you will catch more fish with lures than natural baits for most of the predatory species. Bait only catches the hungry feeding fish while lures can catch fish that are neither hungry nor actively feeding.

      I love to fish ultralight. That is my favorite kind of fishing. I love to fish for fish, depending on the species, with a line that is at most half the pound test of the fish weight that I am catching. that is sportfishing and for fun. Survival fishing is for FOOD and you don’t give the fish any advantages.

      for now, the most important thing is to have fun.

      • 3

        Excellent advice!

      • 2

        I checked Youtube to see a Cuban yo-yo in action and was not disappointed. Never heard of that before but it looks cool. Would it make sense to wear gloves?

      • 4

        I’ve never had a problem with getting line cuts. When they run I just let them pull and the Yo-yo turn in my hand. When they tire I reel them in and wind the cord back on the Yo-yo in case they want to run again. On little ones say under 5 pounds you just pull them in. I use 65-pound old school braided nylon. The new super braids might cut you though.

      • 2

        Got it. I watched another video and it makes more sense now. Thanks a ton

      • 3

        Thank you very much! Sounds like good, practical advice…and good timing too. I’m trying to narrow down the choices, so I’ll check out the Zebco 33 with a 6′ medium rod.

      • 3

        I always recommend that a new fisherman starts with a spincast reel. I have known too many people that tried to start with a casting reel or even a spinning reel get frustrated and ruin their first few fishing experiences. the learning curve for a spincaster is short and you can become fairly adequate for a start with a few evenings practice in your yard. Later if you like fishing you might want to try other kinds of setups…or you may not. I still enjoy the simplicity of my Zebco 33s especially when I am fishing in ponds and smaller bodies of water. My best bass that I caught with a Zebco so far is about 8 pounds. I had no problem landing it. The pond didn’t have a lot of things for it to tangle up in so it could run around freely and not break me off. Great fun and I put it back to grow some more.