Whether you’re a beginner ready to get started fishing for the first time or a seasoned angler looking for a new challenge, knowing which fishing style is right for you is key.
Choose the Right Fishing Method
The best fishing method for you will depend on your area, the type of vessel you’ll be fishing from, and the type of fish you hope to catch. You may even find that you enjoy a variety of methods in different situations. Keep reading to learn more about the best applications for each of these popular fishing styles:
Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, bait fishing is by far the most popular fishing method. At its core, bait fishing is defined by using something small on the end of a line to catch something bigger. That “something small” might be frozen bait, live bait, or a lure. Once you’ve selected your bait, attach it to your hook along with a weight, cast your line into the water, and wait for a tug on the line. Depending on the species you’re hoping to catch and/or the bait you’re using, you may need to employ a more advanced technique for creating motion with your bait for maximum attraction.
Freshwater live bait typically consists of worms and insects or small minnows or bottom feeder fish. Alternately, saltwater live bait is typically composed of small to medium-sized fish (like shrimp, squid, herring, shellfish, and more) that is tailored specifically to the species of fish you’re fishing for.
A common offshore fishing technique, trolling involves baited lines being pulled through the water behind a moving boat. Trolling can be done in freshwater lakes and rivers, but it is best suited for the open ocean where the fish to be caught are nearly limitless as it allows anglers to cover a significant area very quickly. To target specific fish species, be sure you’ve got the right bait or lure, your line is at the right depth, and you’re going the right speed through the water.
Fly fishing in a unique, complex, and highly technical fishing technique. Explained simply, fly fishing is defined by the use of a rod with an artificial fly as bait. When you’re learning how to fly fish it’s important that you learn how to fly cast and choose the right rod, reel, and line. Next you’ll need to choose the right fly and gather the necessary fly fishing gear. Then, once you’re comfortable with the basics of fly fishing you’ll want to choose your location. Typically, fly fishing is best in streams, ponds, and lakes. There’s likely a great place to fly fish not too far from you!
For anglers located in cold weather climates or looking to do some fishing even in frozen temperatures, ice fishing is an excellent activity. Unlike other fishing techniques, ice fishing requires specialized tools and gear - most notably, an ice auger for drilling holes through the ice on a frozen body of water to access the fish beneath. Ice fishing is a unique sport and can provide an opportunity for year-round fishing.
Surf fishing is a popular saltwater fishing method that is done on a beach rather than offshore with a boat. At first glance it might seem like a limiting sport, but surf fishing allows anglers to catch a wide variety of fish that prefer to spend their time closer to shore like mackerel and flounder. Surf casting is a beginner friendly technique that can be perfected quickly. More advanced surf fishermen will focus on reading the beach, the weather, and the tides to find the right strategy.
For fishermen who enjoy the serenity of the sport, fishing from a canoe or a kayak is the perfect way to enjoy a peaceful day on the water. These vessels are much more affordable for beginners and are easy to transport and launch. Additionally, by using a canoe or kayak, fishermen can reach areas that might be inaccessible with a larger boat. Most states do not require registration for canoes and kayaks, but always check with your local authority to ensure you’re in compliance with fishing license and boating license regulations. When you’re ready to fish, simply pack your vessel, safety equipment, anchors, and basic fishing gear, and you’ll be ready to head out on your desired waterway!
Fishing the flats, also known as sight fishing, is done in shallow, clear waters with minimal topography beneath the water’s surface. Anglers often use a casting platform to gain additional elevation and get a better view of the fish below the surface. From this vantage point, it’s simple for someone with a trained eye to spot subtle movement and target a catch. Beginners may become frustrated with the detail-oriented nature of flats fishing, but with a little patience and practice anyone can find success fishing the flats.
Ready to Plan Your Next Fishing Trip?
Now that you know which fishing techniques are best suited for a variety of situations it’s time to plan your next fishing trip! Find a fishing spot near you, determine the best fishing method, and pack your fishing gear for an exciting day on the water.