Getting Started

Why Learn to Fish?

The very first step in learning how to fish is to ask yourself WHY you want to fish. At one time, fishing was purely about finding food. But today people also fish for fun, for relaxation, for a chance to be social and for the chance to reconnect with nature. Knowing why you want to start fishing can help you avoid some of the frustrations beginners can experience, and can also help you avoid additional and unnecessary expenses.
Fishing for Food

Eating fish is one of the healthiest choices you can make, and also one of the most inexpensive if you catch it yourself. Fish and seafood are great sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. And a single, big fish can feed a large family over the course of many meals. Fishing for food can be very economical – practically free – once you’ve invested in a fishing license and the gear you need.

If you’re most interested in fishing for food, start by learning about what species are commonly found close to you. On B.C.’s coast, Salmon are plentiful throughout the year. Further inland, most lakes and rivers are filled with Trout, and some lakes are even stocked year ‘round to supplement the natural numbers.

When fishing for food, your gear costs can be minimal. Simply decide what type of fish you’re interested in, then only purchase the gear and tackle suited to catching that species. Some species, such as Mussels, require almost no equipment at all except maybe a pair of boots and gloves.

Fishing with Friends & Family

Fishing is one of the few recreational activities that allow people to spend a lot of quality time together. Even the shortest fishing trip usually lasts a few hours, and many people even travel and vacation together, building their entire trip around fishing.

If you have friends and family who already fish, you’ll probably find it very easy to get into the sport. You will have people who can teach you the basics, and you can likely borrow all the gear you need for your first few trips from them, too.

If your main interest is in simply learning how to fish, you may want to consider fishing with people you don’t know first. Many communities have fishing clubs where you can arrange for professional instruction, or amateur members who will welcome the chance to share their expert knowledge while introducing someone new to the sport.

Finally, you may want to consider an inexpensive fishing charter for your first trip, A professional fishing guide is paid to concentrate on your experience, first and foremost. Plus, you may not need to have any of your own gear, which is a great way to try the sport before making a financial investment in equipment.

Fishing together can be a great bonding experience. But before inviting someone – or inviting yourself – on a fishing trip be mindful of what you’re hoping to get from the experience… and what they expect to get from it, too. Are they prepared to be good teachers during their own fishing time, and pay more attention to your line than their own? And are you prepared to be a good student? Being aware of your motivations will help create the best memories, and the best learning experience possible.

Fishing as a Hobby

As a hobby, fishing is hard to beat. You can be as casual or as dedicated as you want, and always get something from the sport. Fishing allows you to simply drop a line in the water and “see what happens,” but it also provides you the opportunity to become a world-class expert in the technically demanding pursuit of hard-to-catch species.

For “gearheads,” the huge variety of fishing rods, tackle and other gear available can allow you to indulge in the sport without ever having to actually fish. For example, many people make an active hobby of tying flies, used in fly-fishing, without actually using them on the water.

To pursue fishing as a fun hobby, it’s best to start slow and try different types of fishing before investing too heavily in particular equipment. Many people love the peaceful, slow-paced and romantic notion of fly-fishing, but in practice they learn that they are actually better suited to a faster-paced, more energetic form of fishing like casting for Steelhead.

There is no “best” form of fishing, except what’s best for you. Try them all!

Fishing for Health & Relaxation

Fishing is one of the best things you can do for your health. Depending on the type of fishing you do, it can help increase strength and cardiovascular endurance and it can also help to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.

Many people take up fishing as a way to improve their health, especially as they get older. The key concept, for the best experience possible, is to focus on the word “improve.” Don’t think about what kind of fishing your body will allow you to do, now. Instead, think about the kind of fishing that will help you become even healthier.

If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, for example, you may want to think about fishing in area that requires you to do some walking or hiking to get to the fishing spot. Fly-fishing can be great for this, and so is casting from riverbanks.

To improve your strength, think about fishing for bigger species like Salmon that will provide some fight on the line, requiring you to work both your upper and lower body to reel them in.

If you want to de-stress, relax and lower your blood pressure think about forms of fishing that will take you to peaceful spots, away from the loud noises of motors or civilization. Again, fly fishing can be great for this, but you can also just sit and fish from a dock on a small lake.

Many people don’t think of fishing as “exercise.” But in fact it’s one of the best physical activities you can do, and it’s also great for your mental and emotional health.

Fishing as a Sport

Fishing is a true sport, and it can require as much physical strength, endurance and mental agility as any other sport. It can also provide you with plenty of opportunities to engage in world-class competition against others. Many professional anglers travel the world, competing in tournaments and making (very good) livings purely from their prize-winnings.

To pursue fishing as a sport in British Columbia, you will probably find yourself drawn to some form of Salmon fishing. Steelhead fishing is also a very popular form of competitive fishing here, with multiple tournaments taking place at multiple locations across the province.

True “sport” fishing usually begins as a hobby, and the same advice applies here as it does to hobbyists. Before deciding you want to be a competitive angler, first try out many, different forms of fishing to see which kind you truly “fall in love with.” As with any competitive activity, the specialist gear required to give you an edge over your competition can get very expensive, so start by getting your feet wet before jumping in.


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