Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fishing: An Introduction

A great question came up on the BCP Facebook page this week.

"Need some help. Let's say someone either never learned to fish, or hasn't been since early elementary school some 30 years ago. What licenses (Florida), supplies, resources and guides do they need to get started? Thanks."

Fishing... yeah, I know a thing or two about that. Problem is, there's a whole lot to know: the type of fish you're after, the body of water you're fishing on, and the time of year all weigh heavily on the methods, equipment, and rules you have to work with.

The Rules
Staying out of jail and not being stripped of hunting and fishing privileges sits atop the list of considerations for where and how you fish. In a true survival situation, you'll most likely earn a pass on game laws, but short of that, you need to know and obey the laws.

Fortunately, most states make this very easy. In my state of Utah, the Division of Wildlife Resources publishes a series of rules books each year, and also makes them available as a phone app and online. Most states do this; a Google search for your state and "fish and game" will find you the applicable information.These pamphlets are also commonly distributed at sporting goods stores, wildlife department offices, and other places you can buy fishing licenses.

Because Florida was specific to the question, their site is here.

This can easily become a matter of infinite diversity in infinite combinations: the gear you select is based on the method of fishing employed, the type of fish being targeted, and a good measure of personal preference on the part of the fisherman.

At its most basic, however, it breaks down into a few categories:
  • Rod, Reel, and Line
  • Terminal Tackle and Accessories
  • Lures and Baits 
These combine to make a complete rig, tuned to the fisherman's style and the method employed. Each of these will be explored in detail later.

Correct fishing method is determined by the skill set of the fisherman, the time of year, the target fish, and the type of water body being fished. Winter fishing on a lake is a world different than spring fly fishing on a river or summertime pond fishing. All three can be very productive, to the point of catching the exact same size and species of fish, but at the same time, all three require entirely different skill sets and equipment. In addition, techniques are always being modified and tested, so there is always something to learn.

In the coming weeks, I will break down gear and methods, showing both regional preferences and some universal truths. By the end, you'll hopefully be able to put a tasty fish in the frying pan regularly.


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