Fishing: Tips for how to get started

Want to try fishing for the first time? Read the advice of a young woman who enjoys the sport, both in the city and out in nature.

Woman watching her line in the water with people on the dock in town

We all start somewhere

I wasn't born with a fishing rod in hand, and I didn't immediately fall in love with the sport. Quite the opposite!

The first time I went fishing was with my parents. My dad had bought all the fishing gadgets required and had only one goal in mind: to catch some fish. The only problem? The fish didn’t bite. My expectations were very high, and I found the overall experience to be fairly disappointing.

Several years later, I tried fishing again with a relative who showed me another way to tackle the sport. For him, fishing is a stress-free, goal-free sport: just a day out on a boat, in the sunshine, on a beautiful lake. And even if you don’t catch anything, it's a wonderful way to spend time together, enjoying nature and the tranquility of a beautiful spot. That time, I was hooked.

 Why fishing?

Fishing is now my favourite way to enjoy nature. I love the feeling of calm it brings me: a kind of ritual connection with the elements. And although it is a relaxing sport, it also gives me a great adrenaline rush. When you throw your line in the water, you never know when you’ll feel a bite or what you'll catch!

Fishing in the city also allows you to connect with your community. People often approach me to find out what I'm hoping to catch, and many of them tell me that seeing me inspires them to take out their old fishing rods.

Where to fish in the city

With a little luck, someone will be willing to share their best urban spots with you. You can also join a club or participate in organized activities while you are still getting comfortable with the sport. Your urban spot should be deep enough (especially if you're fishing from the shore - watch out for rocks!), clear of trees and branches, easy to access, and safe. Find the type of fish, permitted periods, as well as any  limitations or exceptions in your area before getting started.

woman on the dock in town smiling at the people fishing with her

In my tackle box

When you’re just starting out, it's completely normal to be unsure where to begint. Don't hesitate to ask for help! If you are starting from scratch, a starter kit will be your best ally.

Here are the essentials that are always in my tackle box: my fishing license, several types of lures, spare hooks, a good multi-tool, fishing gloves, floats (essential if you are fishing in a rocky area), extra fishing line, split shots (to weight the line), and quick-release swivels. I also always take my fishing rod (obviously!) and a bucket to carry my fish home. Oh, and a snack!

Tonight, we eat fish! 

On my first fishing trip, my parents had only packed vegetables for dinner, thinking we were sure to catch a wonderful feast. We starved! Plan a nice dinner in case you come home empty-handed, or you prefer to fish catch-and-release style.

concentrated woman who fishes in the evening

Preparation is key

Going fishing for the first time? Use this list as a handy guide to make sure you have all the essentials on hand.

Checklist

Clothing
Hat or baseball cap
Fishing gloves
Sunglasses
Rain coat
Long-sleeved shirt
Fishing boots
Swimsuit (optional)
Fishing vest (optional)

Equipment
Fishing rod
Tackle box
Fishing bucket
Fishing net
Cooler
Lures
Hooks
Fishing line and sinkers
Floats
Multi-function tool
Swivels

Food and Drinks
Water bottle
☐ Snack
☐ Lunch

Health and Safety
Lifejacket
☐ Lip balm
☐ Sunscreen
☐ Mosquito repellent
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ Tissues
☐ Toilet paper
☐ Garbage bag
Whistle
☐ Phone
☐ First aid kit

Attitude and Well-being
☐ Positive state of mind
☐ Realistic expectations
☐ Love of nature
☐ Time to relax

Happy fishing!

People fishing on a dock in town
Catherine Vidal fishing

About Catherine Vidal

Catherine Vidal is a copywriter and translator living in Montreal, QC. She is passionate about the outdoors, baking, and music. She loves to move, and takes every opportunity to connect with nature.