Today’s post comes from multi-species angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.
Fishing is a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed all year round at any age.
It’s a sport that doesn’t require much: you can get by with some basic tackle and fish from the shore, or you can go diving geared up with the latest and greatest equipment and boats.
When introducing newcomers to the sport, there are a few key points to keep in mind that will ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone.
1. Go at their pace
If you’re already a fisherman, you probably don’t mind being on the water from dawn to dusk in any type of weather. When introducing someone new to the sport, it’s best to pace them.
If you can, select a day with good weather and even look for a fishing spot in advance to locate some fish. Fishing is not just about fishing, but it sure is fun when the trip is successful. Catching your first fish is a memory that lasts a lifetime.
For newcomers, panfish are a great species to start with, especially during spring when they typically stock up in shallow waters easily accessible from shore.
Panfish can often be found in large numbers, offer plenty of action, and can be caught with basic gear.
2. Consider comfort
It’s not fun to shiver or have stomach noises while you’re in the water, and it sure can make your day shorter.
Make sure your guests are dressed for the weather and have enough food, snacks, and snacks to last the entire trip.
Sunglasses are not only useful for protecting the eyes from UV rays, but they can also help protect the eyes when new anglers are learning to cast and lures fly.
As a side note, sunglasses with polarized lenses can also make it easier to spot fish underwater by reducing the amount of glare on the water surface.
3. Prepare in advance
Make sure you have all the equipment and tools necessary for the type of fish you are targeting, as well as the proper license.
Learning to cast, tie knots, and use a reel can be overwhelming for someone who has never done it before.
Having all the equipment ready in advance saves time and means you can help them catch fish straight away. They will enjoy learning more about the process as the day goes on, especially after they start fishing.
Need a refresher on what to bring on your fishing trip?
4. Keep it simple
Bobber fishing is a great introduction as it is very visual and is how many anglers got started.
Learning to feel the bite can be tricky for some, so watching the float go down helps teach when to set the hook. No matter how much time you’ve spent fishing, it’s always a lot of fun to watch the float fall!
Spincast and spinning reels are great styles to start with for beginners and can easily handle casting small jigs and lures used for panfish.
5. Make it fun
Holding/unhooking a fish or baiting a hook for the first time can be intimidating for some, especially young children.
Don’t get obsessed if they are nervous about trying it at first and always be patient.
Lead by example and ensure good care of the fish, not leaving fish that you do not plan to leave out of the water for too long.
I have found that bringing a bucket or filling the container live and placing a couple of fish inside so you can get a closer look is not only a great opportunity to learn about these species, but it also takes away some of the intimidation.
You can also show them this video so they know what to expect:
Do you plan to cook your catch? Use the Ontario Fish Guide to find out which species are safe to eat.
6. Extend the invitation
Don’t forget your grandparents or other people in your life who may be young at heart.
There are many people who would love the opportunity to spend time on the water.
Why not make it a family event?
I can assure you that these types of outings tend to create memories that neither of us will soon forget.
7. Take a learn to fish program
Not sure you’re the right instructor for the potential anglers in your life? Sign up for a free program to learn how to fish.
During these two-hour sessions for all ages, friendly instructors explain how to use fishing equipment and share some basic tips on fish identification and anatomy. Instructors demonstrate how to fish legally, safely and sustainably.
Participants then head to the coast. Rods, reels, baits and PFDs are provided, as well as an adult one-day fishing license. Learn to Fish instructors spend an hour supervising and supporting new anglers as they try out their new skills.
Do you want to register? Find a Learn to Fish program near you.