WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

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Five.

That's how many fishing trips it took for me to finally catch the first fish of my adult fishing career. I didn't expect it to matter as much as it did, to be honest. When I was first invited to a fishing trip with some friends a few months ago I figured I'd mostly be along for the beer, and a little sunshine wouldn't hurt either. I couldn't remember the last time I'd fished, but I was pretty certain my dad had to bait the hook for me. I guess catching crawdads on sewing thread tied around chunks of hot dogs counts, so let's say 12. I was 12 the last time I fished.

And I had forgotten how much fun it is.

When I was first invited along to the fishing trip, I went ahead and stocked up on essentials so as not to get laughed out of the cabin: a rod and spinner reel of moderate but not chintzy price, fishing line (I overcompensatingly bought the 20-lb monofilament. I'm not sure what I was expecting to haul in from a lake stocked with trout no bigger than your hand), and one of those clear plastic tackle boxes full of various lures and hooks they sell off the rack at Target.

A group of us headed out to the bluntly-named Fish Lake and spent the weekend drinking, barely-tolerating each other's snoring, and fishing. I think between the six or seven of us, we caught three fish. I was not one of the lucky few to land a fish, but I was happy just for the time outside and away from various screens. I decided fishing might be a thing I was into.

For my next venture with my neighbor, I was convinced to "do it up right" and head with my neighbor Joakim to Outdoor Emporium, a local gigantic warehouse for all things sporting, be it fishing rods, shotguns, crabbing pots, or whatever else you might need to help you stalk and kill various animals. "My friend here needs help," Joakim told the first friendly employee he could find before leaving me to go buy himself a crab pot. And while I appreciated the sentiment, I think I was more lost than the clerk could compensate for.

"So what are you fishing for?"

"Uh, fish."

"Right. Okay. Do you have a rod, at least?" And with that we were off! I wish I could remember the guy's name, because we was incredibly helpful and way too indulgent of my ignorance. Eventually I found myself in the lure section, which is where you can really spend too much money. Lures are fascinating to me. I mean, not in the same way they might fascinate a fish. Each one has its own purported target fish and size, and some of them get insanely specific ("Perfect for catching 7 to 10-inch left-handed salmon on cloudy Thursday mornings!") without mentioning really what the hell they do to work. And there are so many! So many styles, shapes, colors, and promises of fishing prowess! I bought $50 worth.

But despite my many lures, fish didn't bite. I had left fishing behind at a time when all I knew to do was put a worm on a hook and wait. I had no idea what trolling was. The helpful guys at Outdoor Emporium explained to me in detail several setups I could use to maximize my fish-catching, but my eyes glazed over at all the talk of jigs and rigs and sinkers and swivels. Feh, I thought, That's just for all the suckers. You put a worm on a hook and you wait. That's it.

Except it's not. It turns out fish are smart. Well, not smart, but wary. Skittish, even. And unless your bait looks exactly like an easy meal with no strings attached (aha!), they're not going to go for it. At least, that's what my friends kept telling me as I got skunked on trip after trip. I honestly didn't mind, as a bad day fishing was still a day spent in the sun on the water, but I was starting to get kind of paranoid that I might lead a life as some kind of pathetic pseudo-angler, always fishing but never actually catching anything.

Then, Wednesday last week, it happened: a bite. I thought it was a bite. Hoped it was a bite, anyway; we'd been reeling in nothing but weeds so far, but lo and behold there was a fish on the end of my line! I reeled it in while trying not to tip over Matthew's canoe. It was a rock bass, maybe five inches in length if that. It didn't matter. The streak was broken! I had fished! Successfully! I blushed with pride at the idea that if there were some sort of apocalyptic disaster that reduced us to subsistence living, I would be able to delay my family's agonizing death by starvation by at least a couple of hours. By the end of the night I'd caught another. Maybe it was the same exceptionally stupid fish. I don't care, I'm counting it as two.

So now that I'm officially a fisherperson, what tips and tricks do I need to know? What's your best fishing story of glory? Let me know in the comments.

sumo68


quality posts: 1 Private Messages sumo68

Fishing is fun, except that it's expensive, time consuming and addictive.

Randall, since you're now fishing in the area (Western Washington), I believe, come on down to the Puyallup. I'll take you fishing for salmon.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
sumo68 wrote:Fishing is fun, except that it's expensive, time consuming and addictive.

Randall, since you're now fishing in the area (Western Washington), I believe, come on down to the Puyallup. I'll take you fishing for salmon.



Does it have to be expensive, though? Once you're past the initial investment of a rod and reel, you're pretty much good to go, right?

Also, salmon fishing sounds great.

jackwinston


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jackwinston

Let me give you all you need to know about fishing.
Number one: Get rid of the 20 lb line. Something lighter is more sporting. Remember you want to hook it's lips.
Sounds like you are already into catch and release (good for you sportsman).
Really it all about how you hold your mouth. Don't let anyone else tell you different.
P.S. the real secret to real fishing is how you hold your beer.

capndenney


quality posts: 0 Private Messages capndenney

if you just want to catch fish and don't care about the size, get an ultralight rod from walmart ($30) and some 6# line, its more fun to catch the little fish on

dotcomaphobe


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dotcomaphobe

Well-written post. I salute you on your successful catch!

As an Amateur Adult Angler myself, I'd like to invite you to AAA meetings where we can share with each other our frustrations, injuries and depleting funds.

My advice to you: make sure it's fun. If you're not having a good time, it's not worth it.

Keep posting more of this!

dww1935


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dww1935

I'm an old man now, my father taught me how to fish when I was a young boy. I have since taught many people the fundamentals of the sport so believe me when I say the quickest way to learn fishing is to fish with someone who knows how to fish.

mslavick


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mslavick

You should try fly fishing. It's like golf, in that you spend hundreds of dollars just to get started at something you're going to really suck at for a while. But tricking that first trout into taking a fly off the top of the water from a line that you casted and drifted perfectly is the equivalent of smacking the ball 290 yards down the middle of the fairway for the first time--it's a total rush and you can't wait to do it again.

sumo68


quality posts: 1 Private Messages sumo68
llandar wrote:Does it have to be expensive, though? Once you're past the initial investment of a rod and reel, you're pretty much good to go, right?

Also, salmon fishing sounds great.



Yeah, for quality gear, you're going to pay. Fishing with cheap stuff lessens the feel and play, when you get a fish on. Plus it breaks really easily too.

Like in the tech world, you pay for what you get.

We'll have to hit up that salmon fishing...

evmc


quality posts: 0 Private Messages evmc
sumo68 wrote:Yeah, for quality gear, you're going to pay. Fishing with cheap stuff lessens the feel and play, when you get a fish on. Plus it breaks really easily too.

Like in the tech world, you pay for what you get.

We'll have to hit up that salmon fishing...



evmc


quality posts: 0 Private Messages evmc
evmc wrote:



I thought after about 55 years I would cast another fly. sort of in memory of my father long deceased. He did leave a cedar cigar box with flies he tied himself and his ca 1900 fly rods. I too went to the local fishing emporium and emerged $60.00 lighter. Proceeded to the spot I had last fished about 1948. The trout were still waiting. I quickly sunk the fly but one of the less crafty trout didnt care-wet/dry what the heck-near 12 inches and I suspect recently stocked. Went again once or twice but now have at least bragging rights for a $60.00 trout

chadness


quality posts: 1 Private Messages chadness

I've been an avid fisherman for quite a while. Every summer my Uncle hosts a fishing tournament on his lake (technically, it's not his lake, he's just the self appointed Mayor, but close enough) for Northern Pike and Large Mouth Bass. We all put money in to a pool, and the pot is split between those who caught biggest fish in both categories. Well, after many years of this tournament, my wife caught the biggest bass this year, and there weren't any qualifying northerns, so she won the whole pot! I guess this is her moment of glory, not mine, but thought I'd share.

Like others have said, it's really about going with someone in the know, and not being too proud to ask for advice. My buddy went for years without catching a fish, because he just threw in the water whatever he thought looked pretty. There's actually technique and strategy behind the lures you use - though you might glaze over as they explain them at the store, you're better off learning it actually on the water. Plus, your buddies can loan you lures to help you decide what to buy.

That being said, fishing for pan fish with a worm and a hook is almost always reliable, at least here on Minnesota lakes.

RWoodward


quality posts: 58 Private Messages RWoodward

I've never been what you would call angler. When I was a kid in New York, we fished for food, not sport. Equipment was hand-me-downs or something from someone's garage sale, and bait was almost exclusively worms, which we picked from the lawn on rainy nights. Perch, sunfish, and bullheads were the prey, mostly because they were easy to catch and the bucket filled up quickly.

When we moved south, we would gather clams and oysters in the salt marshes, and catch blue crabs with a chicken neck tied to a piece of clothesline and a dip net.

If the fishing was slow, we would scour the woods for mushrooms, fruits, berries, wild onions, or whatever edibles were in season.

It was never about sport or relaxation, it was gathering as much protean as you could as quickly and cheaply as possible so you could get back home and finish other chores.

fourgotten


quality posts: 0 Private Messages fourgotten

I, also, rediscovered angling as an adult. As a youngster (AKA, under 14 - before I discovered girls or, rather, before they discovered me...) I was ALWAYS on the water, catching small panfish and he occasional something worth taking home.

MY girlfriend wanted to go fishing one day, so I dug out the old gear and we did... she's regretted it every day since, and that was 8 years ago.

My most memorable fish ever, though, was my first steelhead.

Out here, the steelhead is THE fish. If you don't fish for steelhead, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

I'd gone out at LEAST twice a week for the entire season and wound up skunked. I'd hooked four or five, but each time I'd lost them, whether because they snuggled up to a rock and loosed the hook, or (in the case of one EXCEPTIONALLY large one) leapt several feet from the water and shown that my knot could have been tied better by running off with my jig. (As that particular jig used a "trailer", basically an extra length of line with a hook and a puff of the same material as the jig strug on the line, I am sure that that particular fish took a good amount of ribbing from its friends afterward.)

The next year, I fished a few times for them, but mostly half-heartedly since the prior year's experience had been so profoundly disheartening. Of course, I always kept a rod and gear ready in my truck... just in case, you know.

My girlfriend and I decided to go check out some unfamiliar waters and headed out bright and early one morning to the Sixes River on the Oregon coast. It was mostly a sight-seeing drive with the excuse that I was going fishing. I think that we both knew that.

We found a public access to the river and parked. Donning waders and loading up with the big tacklebox, several rods, and the net, we headed down and fished for a few hours.

This older gentleman on a portable oxygen tank came down and asked if we minded if he fished near us. Yes. The man was wading and fishing with a portable oxygen tank. Oregon fishermen are just THAT bad-ass.

We talked and fished a bit and myself and the ol' lady were just about to pack it in when my float vanished. I pulled back and discovered that, indeed, this time it WASN'T that patch of grass. At least, the grass patch hadn't shaken its head the PREVIOUS 7,936 times that I'd hooked into it. Usually it just ate my jig.

It wasn't a terribly BIG steelhead (weighing in at 7lbs), but it was the first that I ever landed. She was beautiful, silver as a new-minted dime, and mine all mine.

Since then, steelhead have proven to be much less of a challenge to hook and land and I've moved to catching them on a fly rod (REALLY effective if you do it right - meaning don't listen to the fly-fishing snobs). I've caught quite a few since that day and learned a WHOLE lot about how to fish and where. Learned to read the water like a book and I can point to the exact spot where you'll find fish on almost any given stretch of river. Not one of those fish - even the big ones - can measure up to that first steelhead, though. She'll always be my first, and you never forget your first one.

garfield43


quality posts: 0 Private Messages garfield43

I get a kick out of the fact that every year at Mega Lo Mart the "new" "this year" lures, hooks and plastic worms come in. The "old" "last year" ones get marked down.

Do the fish know?
Are 2 bass hanging out under a lily pad talking when their conversation gets interrupted.
PLOOP
"Oh my goodness! Can you believe that, is that last years worm?"
"Fish please! No one is going to bite that."
Or you know what ever a couple of catty fish would say in such a situation.

cdowney3


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cdowney3
garfield43 wrote:I get a kick out of the fact that every year at Mega Lo Mart the "new" "this year" lures, hooks and plastic worms come in. The "old" "last year" ones get marked down.

Do the fish know?
Are 2 bass hanging out under a lily pad talking when their conversation gets interrupted.
PLOOP
"Oh my goodness! Can you believe that, is that last years worm?"
"Fish please! No one is going to bite that."
Or you know what ever a couple of catty fish would say in such a situation.



I see what you did there. CATty fish... CAT fish... get it?

cdowney3


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cdowney3

I've been fishing since I was a wee lad. Started off catching largemouth bass.

Now I fish saltwater. One of my best memories is catching my first redfish while drift fishing with my dad. I was using this goofy lure that made my plastic jig a topwater lure and no one really thought it would work. Suddenly, in the distance in the general area of my lure, there's a big splash and I feel a strong tug on my rod. I've got a fish!

Man, that was a great time. Never caught anything else using that lure either.

lacotomo


quality posts: 11 Private Messages lacotomo

Love fishing and am grateful my dad started me young. I in turn have gotten my boys involved at an early age. At 7 and 8, they are spending their allowances on lures instead of video games(sometimes) and I can't be happier. The time out there with them is special, relaxing, and fun. We live in the burbs', but we always find a lake or pond to cast a lure. At their age, they are finally getting good enough to change their own gear, take off their own fish, etc. so no dad actually gets to fish too!

A side note about fishing personally, we usually go for largemouth/panfish/etc. and I also fly fish, both streams and lakes, but one of the funnest experiences I have had lately is surf fishing the ocean in Montauk, on the tip of Long Island with a buddy. Its cool to wade knee deep and cast a huge lure out into the surf looking for Striped Bass. When they are biting, trucks come down the beach and gather fisherman all around you to try and take advantage of the frenzy. Bringing in a 20-40lb. Striper isn't bad either...

kinmic59


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kinmic59

My favorite fishing tail goes like this...

I met a couple buddies at the lake who had already been fishing. They inform me that they had been fishing for an hour without a single bite. I look at the lures that I've a accumulated and decide to go with a wiggling floater that looks like a fish, because the package claimed that it was effective in shallow, clear waters. That sounded like the water I was looking at. I then said as a cast my lure, "You know, the best thing about fishing is, you can know nothing and still catch a fish." and I flaming bag you not, within seconds of finishing that sentence I hooked a 10" crappie. My luck continued, because that lure must have been perfect that day (but not most others). After a while my friend began throwing rocks wherever I would cast, because they still had caught nothing.

Good times.

CuzzinMerl


quality posts: 23 Private Messages CuzzinMerl

My one and only fishing story:

I think I was about 10 yrs old the last time I went fishing. My granddad took my brother and me on a boat out in Neah Bay. I remember I caught a fish but what I remember most was leaning over the side of the boat for hours chumming for sharks.

I guess I wasn't meant to be a fisherman.

beertwenty


quality posts: 1 Private Messages beertwenty
capndenney wrote:if you just want to catch fish and don't care about the size, get an ultralight rod from walmart ($30) and some 6# line, its more fun to catch the little fish on


Don't be fooled, two weekends ago I used the same setup to land a thirty inch bonnet head (shark)! I was fishing at Sebastian Inlet while my wife was playing with our daughter on the playground equipment. My wife then waltzed up and stated something to the tune of "we're gonna catch a shark" or something silly. I implied that wasn't possible because all I had ever caught there were catfish. I baited my "ultralight" with a 40# mono leader and a frozen shrimp and let our daughter reel it in and cast it out just for giggles. Well, my wife took a seat on one of our chairs and I took my daughter to the restroom. I had eaten quite a bit of cheese during our camping trip and my daughter is three, so needless to say the duration of the bathroom trip was a tad excessive. Fifteen minutes or so later, I returned with our daughter on my shoulders to see my wife (presumably) catching a rock or hooked on the bottom. She started informing me I had taken far too long in the bathroom and was worried because she didn't know what was pulling on her line. Upon closer inspection, I could hear the drag was set way too loose (my fault, but it was 6# test) for whatever was on there. When she relinquished control of the rod to me, almost all of the 300 feet of line was stripped from the spool. Luckily no one else was fishing around us at that moment so that made it a lot easier for me to walk the shoreline and retrieve the line and fight the fish without worrying about other lines in the water. After a twenty minute fight, I finally landed my (my wife's...) first shark, took a picture without removing it from the water, cut the line and released it as quickly as possible. It was very exhilarating and now that my wife is hooked, I have one less "man refuge", but at least she won't drink all my beer. True story bro. :-)